Three Replacements For Kliff Kingsbury as Cardinals Head Coach

Kliff Kingsbury
Kliff Kingsbury / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals fired Kliff Kingsbury on Monday. Kingsbury is a smart offensive mind but was unable to get over the hump in Arizona, making only one playoff appearance in three seasons and getting beat soundly in that one playoff appearance. It's a surprise move given Kingsbury signed an extension after last season but probably the right one.

Now the Cardinals need to find a head coach who can work with Kyler Murray. Unfortunately whoever takes the job will be at a handicap from the get-go; Murray tore his ACL in December and probably will not be ready for the start of next season. Arizona also has a lot of other roster issues they have to deal with. This is not a championship-ready team by any stretch of the imagination.

But NFL head coaching jobs that come with a franchise QB attached are not common so there will be a lot of interest in the gig. Here are a few possible candidates to replace Kingsbury in the desert.

Sean Payton

Yes, it's Sean Payton again. The Fox analyst has already had conversations with the Denver Broncos and is a logical candidate to replace Sean McVay if he leaves the Rams, so Payton will not be short of opportunities. But Arizona fits what he is looking for-- a team with a talented quarterback that he can work with. Add in the fact that GM Steve Keim is probably on the outs too and Payton can build his own program from the ground-up just like he did in New Orleans. Arizona will be calling him several times regardless of his interest level.

Vance Joseph

Joseph was named by insiders as a likely candidate to replace Kingsbury in the immediate aftermath of his firing. The former Broncos head coach has been DC in Arizona for the last three years. He's familiar with his players and would represent a smooth transition, if anything. The downside is that the Cardinals' defense has not been particularly good over that stretch. But Joseph apparently "commands respect" in the building and that may be something that is crucial given the Murray reports from earlier this year.

Kellen Moore

We need not look hard to find examples of NFL teams not learning from their mistakes. So why wouldn't the Cardinals hire a young, offensive-minded, first-time head coach? Moore has been in the rumor mill for years now as a potential head coach. He showed he can make it work with subpar talent when he managed to get solid productivity out of Cooper Rush. Dak Prescott's recent stretch has shown that Moore isn't working with a perfect hand even when all is well. He'd be great with Murray and has very recent proof that his offense will not simply roll over with a backup under center. Arizona may not want to do this whole dance again but Moore is worth looking into.