The Arizona Cardinals are rebooting their operation 10 months after signing head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim to contract extensions.
The Cardinals fired Kingsbury on Monday after four seasons, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later confirmed the move.
Keim, who took an indefinite health-related absence last month, has also decided to step away from his position to focus on his health, the club announced.
"We have announced that head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been relieved of his duties," the team said in a statement. "In addition, general manager Steve Keim has decided to step away from his position in order to focus on his health. The team wishes them well and thanks both of them for their contributions."
Kingsbury went 28-37-1 in four seasons in the desert with a dismal 4-13 record in 2022. Kingsbury signed an extension through 2027 in March, but that didn't stop owner Michael Bidwill from making a change.
In 10 seasons with Keim at the helm, the Cards went 80-80-2 with three playoff appearances, going 1-3 in the postseason.
The Cards' 2021 campaign got off to a hot start, as Arizona sprinted to a 7-0 start behind Kyler Murray's splendid play. But since then, it's been a tailspin. The Cardinals backed their way into a postseason berth in Kingsbury's third season only to get shellacked by the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams.
Arizona improved by three wins each season under Kingsbury, going from 5-10-1 in 2019 to 8-8 in 2020 to 11-6 in 2021. But the bottom fell out this season.
A tumultuous campaign, starting with DeAndre Hopkins' suspension and highlighted by several injuries, including losing Murray to an ACL tear, saw the offense struggle mightily. Arizona averaged 20.0 points per game, and 323.5 yards per game in 2022, both lows under Kingsbury.
"I've been around this organization my entire life, and I don't know any coach that has worked harder than Kliff Kingsbury," Bidwill said during a news conference on Monday. "He has put in countless hours and we had a good, long conversation today, in which I told him I am really sorry because this is a tough decision, but it was a decision that needed to be made, and I wish it could've worked out better for him because in terms of putting in the effort, there's a guy that really deserved to have the outcome we were all expecting a year ago or so."
The Cardinals' roster was a mishmash of big names but offered little depth and no cohesiveness. Several of Keim's early draft picks didn't pan out, and the coaching staff struggled to coax consistent on-field play.
Now the Cardinals will look for a breath of fresh air with a new head coach and GM.
Bidwill said Monday that his search for a GM and head coach has already begun, and the team will "cast the net far and wide, doing it differently than we have in the past." Bidwill added that "there's an incredible sense of urgency" with his search, which will include internal and external candidates and the input of team leaders, including Murray. Bidwill said he has already interviewed Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and Cardinals VP of player personnel Quentin Harris for the GM position.
Rapoport reported Monday that Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will get a long look for the vacant HC job, per a source.
It's more than just the brass that could look much different in the desert in 2023. Murray's injury makes him uncertain to be ready for the start of the campaign. Defensive end J.J. Watt announced his impending retirement. Edge rusher Zach Allen is slated to hit the open market. Starting offensive linemen Rodney Hudson, Justin Pugh and Kelvin Beachum are also free agents.
The Cardinals have missed the playoff in six of their last seven seasons and have not won the NFC West since 2015.