This week, following the news reported via Twitter by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that Kliff Kingsbury was being targeted by the University of Oklahoma to be Lincoln Riley’s successor, ROTB member Chambana81 remarked:
“I’m thinking that KKs agent leaked the story of his interest in OU just to get him more money. That is to a large degree what an agent’s job is.”
Great point, Chambana81 —- one that apparently J.J. Watt agrees with:
killin’ it on the field and at the negotiating table.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 28, 2021
I see ya Kliff!
Which prompted these responses from me:
1 —- What’s bizarre about this situation is the timing. The time for Kliff to posture for a contract extension is after the season, not after 11 games --- largely because the last thing Kliff should want is for this situation to be a distraction coming back from the bye week, which his team did not handle well last year.
2 —- Kliff said his whole focus right now is on preparing for the game this week --- but that seems like a contradiction when he wouldn’t simply nip the whole rumor in the bud in order to avoid this becoming a distraction. Obviously, Kliff and his agent are paying keen attention to the reported interest from Oklahoma. Otherwise, Kliff could have slammed the door on it. Here he is not putting the team first.
3 —- Kliff is in certain ways a mystery man, isn’t he?
4 —- The first thing he thought of when his offense was awful during the first half of his first game in the NFL was that he was going to lose his house. Maybe it was just me, but I thought that was little odd.
5 —- Then, as much as the photo of him chilling at his mountainside villa in Paradise Valley during the 2020 NFL draft became a popular meme, it was in various ways a strange decision on his part because of the scrutiny he had been getting about being undeserving of an NFL head coaching job and now after a 5-10-1 first season the decision to hype his lucrative digs when, in contrast, the GMs and other head coaches were being filmed in traditional work spaces or family rooms, was ballsy.
ROTB editor Seth Cox posed this highly apt and vexing hypothetical in his “Kliff Kingsbury a Hot Commodity” article:
“That is the biggest concern with Kliff, how do you expect anyone to turn down $100 million in cash money?”
Be honest —- have you been scouring Twitter and/or the ESPN website a few times each day to see whether Oklahoma has hired its new head coach?
Were you wondering why Kliff was playing things so coy with the Arizona media this week when he refused to dismiss the notion that he and his agent, Eric Burkhardt, could be engaged in talks with Oklahoma about their coaching vacancy?
I have been.
Were you convinced that Kliff isn’t really all that interested in Oklahoma when it was reported that he assured Isaiah Simmons that he wasn’t going anywhere?
I felt encouraged, but haven’t felt completely convinced.
But, if Kliff has no interest in Oklahoma, then why didn’t he just nip the rumors in the bud?
Was Kliff being coy with the Arizona media because of some of the treatment he’s received from them since day one?
The ink on Kliff’s contract with the Cardinals wasn’t even dry yet when the most senior writer at the Arizona Republic described the hiring as:
“A bold move by the Cardinals. And a bad one.”
About this time last year, despite Kliff’s offense being ranked in the top 5 in the NFL in terms of yards per game and scoring, one of the Arizona sports talk hosts embarked on a highly impassioned “the Cardinals need to hire an offensive coordinator for Grumpy Cat” campaign.
Undoubtedly, Kliff heard the noise the entire off-season from the media that this year was an absolute “ “playoffs or bust year” for him as the head coach.
But, as a stark contrast, if you listen to Kliff’s players (you know, the guys he is working with every day), their message about Kliff’s coaching has been effusive.
“If you are against them (Cardinals’ coaches), then you are against us (Cardinals’ players).” D.J. Humphries.
Kliff is “kllin’ it on the field.” J.J. Watt
If you listened to Dave Pasch’s recent podcast interview of Colt McCoy, Colt raved about Kliff’s weekly preparations and the new wrinkles he installs for each game.
So, are Kliff Kingsbury and his agent Eric Burkhardt, that desperate for an immediate and highly lucrative contract extension with Cardinals to the point where they felt it absolutely necessary to hype the possibility of him signing with Oklahoma? —- At the risk of distracting the Cardinals’ 9-2 team?
Kliff Kingsbury is now at or near the top of virtually every NFL pundit’s short list for Coach of the Year candidates. His team has gotten off the the fastest and most successful start in the history of the Arizona Cardinals. How often have the Cardinals gone 4-0 in its first 4 NFC West games, while dominating all three rivals on the road?
In light of these accolades, Kliff Kingsbury has made the Arizona media and all of his naysayers across the USA look foolish —-
Thus, does Kliff really need to posture for a raise from Michael Bidwill?
Michael Bidwill has a history of rewarding successful coaches with lucrative contract extensions.
Therefore, is it possible and even likely that Kliff couldn’t nip the rumors in the bud, because he does has interest in listening to what Oklahoma has to offer?
Kliff bailed on USC (ironically) when he listened to the Cardinals. Few could blame him for that.
If he wasn’t interested in hearing what Oklahoma has to offer, why then would he pose himself as an unnecessary distraction to his own players coming off their bye week, with so much at stake?
This just doesn’t make much sense.
Therefore, would it surprise you to learn that a highly attractive offer is on the table from Oklahoma and that Kliff is pondering whether to accept it —— while perhaps Michael Bidwill is pondering whether to match it?
Put it this way —- what football coach in the USA could be the top draw for the best young high school QBs across the land? Even Lincoln Riley can’t boast that he coached both Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray.
Heck, if Kliff gets $10M a year, then he could keep his Paradise Valley mountainside palace, with its fire pit ablaze —- as a vacation home.
Of course, if Kliff does bail on the Cardinals for Oklahoma, the classic O. Henry full circle ending would be for the senior writer of the Arizona Republic to write:
“Kliff made a bold move. And a bad one.”