ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals GM Keim on Kingsbury-Oklahoma rumors: ‘We don’t want to lose Kliff’

Dec 3, 2021, 3:18 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (left) and general manager Steve Keim (right) address ...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (left) and general manager Steve Keim (right) address the media before the NFL Draft. (Photo by John Mendoza/Cronkite News)

(Photo by John Mendoza/Cronkite News)

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury did not do the best job to extinguish the possibility — however unlikely — that he could leave Arizona after this season.

Following a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Oklahoma Sooners would target Kingsbury in their head-coaching search, the third-year NFL coach only said he wanted to avoid that topic at the moment.

The man who will have to deal with any of Kingsbury’s potential interest in the Oklahoma job, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, admitted Friday when he joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo that such things happen when a team deals with success.

“… Sometimes the rumors are correct, sometimes they’re not,” Keim said Friday. “Obviously, we don’t want to lose Kliff, he’s done a phenomenal job. (Owner) Michael (Bidwill) and I are his biggest fans, so again, I think he’s got a great job here as Kyler Murray mentioned. I think the future is bright.”

Kingsbury remains under contract through next year and has a fifth-year team option.

With his only prior head-coaching experience coming at Texas Tech, where he posted a 35-40 record, there might be some inkling of curiosity from Kingsbury in taking a premier college job — and one which also could potentially pay nine figures.

But Kingsbury’s Cardinals have a 9-2 record as they go into a game against the Chicago Bears. Kingsbury has a young quarterback taking all the necessary steps to remain a long-time NFL star and coaching professionals in Arizona might suit Kingsbury over getting back to the deal-with-everything role of being a program leader for college athletes — for a team that will soon be joining the daunting SEC, no less.

More likely than considering the Oklahoma job, Kingsbury very well could use this opportunity, thanks to a reporter’s tweet, to score a new contract and remain with Arizona.

That said, the head coach won’t be the only person Keim might have to worry about losing after the 2021 season ends.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is posting another resume-worthy season, and his leadership along with his schematic success makes him a prime head-coaching candidate in the NFL.

Outside linebacker Chandler Jones is also in a contract year and could ask for a big pay-day, as will offensive contributors Chase Edmonds, Christian Kirk, James Conner, the entire tight end room and cornerback Robert Alford.

“We have so many things going in the right direction, so many decisions need to be made as well after the season, and we’re going to have some tough problems,” Keim said. “We’re actually going to have a lot of tough decisions, which is essentially what you want in my position.”

Arizona Cardinals

Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after sacking Mac Jones #10 of the New England P...

Alex Weiner

Ex-Cardinals DL Zach Allen says Vance Joseph a major reason he joined Broncos

Zach Allen joined Vance Joseph with the Denver Broncos this offseason after they both spent four years with the Arizona Cardinals.

17 hours ago

DJ Humphries, Arizona Cardinals...

Kevin Zimmerman

PFF: If there’s a strength for 2023 Cardinals, look to the O-line

While there are some questions about the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line, it's a strong position group compared to the rest of the roster.

17 hours ago

DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after Arizona defeated the Chicag...

Arizona Sports

Bills? Cowboys? ESPN lists best fits for DeAndre Hopkins after Cardinals release

DeAndre Hopkins now hits the market after his release from the Cardinals, and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler picked out the best potential fits. 

2 days ago

Zach Pascal...

Tyler Drake

Zach Pascal ready to bring out best of Cardinals in reunion with Gannon

Cardinals wide receiver Zach Pascal and head coach Jonathan Gannon already have a bond as they embark on Year 1 in the desert.

2 days ago

Budda Baker...

Arizona Sports

Budda Baker expected to be back with Cardinals ‘when it’s time to be there’

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker broke his offseason silence on Friday, explaining he will return to the team when it's time to be there.

3 days ago

DeAndre Hopkins...

Arizona Sports

Isaiah Simmons, NFL world react to Cardinals’ release of DeAndre Hopkins

The NFL world was left surprised Friday morning with the Cardinals' announced release of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

3 days ago

Cardinals GM Keim on Kingsbury-Oklahoma rumors: ‘We don’t want to lose Kliff’