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Best candidates to replace Kliff Kingsbury as Cardinals head coach

The Arizona head coaching position opens up after Kingsbury gets fired. Who is in the mix for the opening?

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury less than a year after signing a contract extension through 2027. The Cardinals went 4-13 this season, Kingsbury’s fourth with the franchise. The Cardinals were .500 in 2020 and went 11-6 in 2021 under his leadership.

Let’s take a look at some of the top candidates to replace Kingsbury.

Sean Payton

The former New Orleans head coach has been linked to Arizona in the NFL rumor mill for several months now. The presence of Kyler Murray’s extended contract and a high ceiling with the Cardinals’ roster could lure Payton out of semi-retirement.

Vance Joseph

The Cardinals’ own defensive coordinator and former head coach of the Broncos may be a favorite for the position if the franchise wants to keep things in the family. He has been with the Cards since 2019, and led Denver to back-to-back losing seasons before that.

Jim Harbaugh

Michigan’s head coach will reportedly take any NFL job that offers him. He has the league experience and has found recent success at Michigan, so the question is whether the Cardinals would be interested in bringing him on.

Brian Johnson

If the Cardinals are looking to create a true franchise quarterback out of Kyler Murray, the Eagles QB coach could be an excellent option. His work with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia speaks for itself.

Byron Leftwich

The Bucs’ offensive coordinator’s name frequently pops up in these coaching searches. While Tampa Bay’s offense did not have a banner year in 2022, Leftwich’s track record goes much deeper than that, and he has the league experience to qualify him for the job.