The Arizona Cardinals faced skepticism in March after signing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim to lucrative contract extensions. Less than a year later, there is an increasing possibility of ownership eating both deals to make organizational changes.
Michael Bidwill’s decision to extend his coach and top executive months after an ugly first-round playoff loss drew criticism. Not only did Arizona lose 34-11 in the Wild Card Round to the Los Angeles Rams, it also served as the finish to a second-half collapse.
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Following a 7-0 start to the season with Kyler Murray in the race for NFL MVP, the Cardinals closed out the regular season with a 4-6 record. To make matters worse, Kingsbury’s team went 1-4 in its final five regular-season games.
Arizona’s second-half implosion came a year after it opened the 2020 NFL season with a 5-2 record. After a Week 8 bye, the Cardinals ended their campaign with a 3-6 stretch that kept them out of the playoffs. Two years later, the Cardinals are headed towards their worst season since Kingsbury’s first year (5-10-1).
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated wrote in his weekly mailbag that he believes there is a real chance Arizona fires both its head coach and general manager after the season.
“I think there’s a decent chance that ownership detonates the building, so long as the Bidwills are willing to cut the checks to do so.Albert Breer on futures of Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim, HC Kliff Kingsbury
While the financial terms of the two contract extensions were never disclosed, Kingsbury and Keim received five-year deals that carried through the 2027 season. If Bidwill decides to move on, it will come at a massive cost for a franchise that has long been viewed as being run frugally.
Sweeping changes at both levels of the organization would require paying the salaries of dismissed coaches and executives along with new contracts for whoever the new hires want to bring on.
Matters are complicated further by Murray’s injury. The new face of the franchise will likely miss a portion of the 2023 regular season, either hurting Kingsbury’s offense or whoever replaces him. As a disappointing season draws to a close for Arizona, its offseason is poised to be far more intriguing with a significant impact on the team’s long-term outlook.
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