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Wild details emerge on why Kliff Kingsbury backed out on Las Vegas Raiders OC job, Mark Davis involved

Las Vegas Raiders, Kliff Kingsbury
Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders walked out of Friday believing Kliff Kingsbury would be their offensive coordinator in 2024. One day later, Kingsbury backed out of contract negotiations and a new Raiders coaching search was underway to find a play-caller for next season.

After naming Antonio Pierce as the full-time head coach, Las Vegas quickly began its search for an offensive coordinator. The Raiders brought in Kingsbury, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Klint Kubiak for interviews

Related: Why Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is a concerning hire

By Friday, Kingsbury had reportedly agreed to become the Raiders’ offensive coordinator. Following the news, speculation began about Las Vegas trading up for the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to reunite him with USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams.

On Saturday morning, however, reports surfaced that Kingsbury didn’t sign his contract with Las Vegas and the team was shifting its focus to other options. As the dust now settles with Getsy officially hired as the Raiders offensive coordinator and Kingsbury taking the same position with the Washington Commanders, details have emerged on what led to the split from Las Vegas.

According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Raiders’ unwillingness to add a third year to Kingsbury’s contract led to him leaving the door open for NFL teams. Kingsbury wanted leverage and the moment Las Vegas was adamant about not adding a third year to his contract, the Commanders swooped in and landed him.

The rationale for the Raiders’ organization’s refusal to add another year to the contract ties into the team’s history. As Breer notes, owner Mark Davis is still paying out contracts for fired coaches Josh McDaniels and Jon Gruden along with payments for front-office members who have been let go by the team in recent years.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders draft picks 2024

Once Kingsbury took himself out of the running, Las Vegas was also put in a difficult position. With its first choice no longer an option and another top choice (Kubiak) becoming the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator, the Raiders had to pivot quickly.

Getsy’s tenure as a play-caller in Chicago resulted in two of the worst offenses in the NFL from 2022-’23. However, the Raiders believed that the Bears’ issues were a far greater indictment on quarterback Justin Fields and the talent in Chicago than Getsy’s offensive mind and play-calling.

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