Kliff Kingsbury fired after four seasons with Arizona Cardinals

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Kliff Kingsbury fired after four seasons with Cardinals originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Kliff Kingsbury is out as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after four seasons, the team announced on Monday.

In addition, the Cardinals announced that Steve Keim was stepping away from his position as general manager.

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The 43-year-old Kingsbury rose through the ranks of college football, developing a name for himself for his ability to identify and develop quarterbacks. He made the jump to the pros in 2019 when the Cardinals hired him as head coach.

After going 13-18-1 in Kingsbury’s first two seasons, the Cardinals looked poised to contend last year. They won their first seven games of the season behind quarterback Kyler Murray before dropping six of their last 10 games to end the season. In the playoffs, they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the wild card round.

In the wake of that disappointing playoff performance, the Cardinals signed Kingsbury and Keim to contract extensions through 2027. Months later, they signed Murray to a five-year, $230 million contract, making him the third-highest paid quarterback for the 2022 regular season.

This past season, Arizona posted a 4-13 record -- putting them last in the NFC West. Murray suffered a torn ACL in December, but the team struggled even before his injury. The Cardinals were in the bottom half of the NFL in nearly every stat on both sides of the ball – including a 31st-ranking 26.4 points per game allowed by the defense.

Kingsbury hasn’t been on any other NFL staffs in his coaching career, but he has a friendship with Rams head coach Sean McVay and played for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in 2003.

It’s unclear which direction the Cardinals will go with their next head coach, but some available candidates include Sean Payton, DeMeco Ryans and Leslie Frazier, among others.