The Arizona Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury are in great shape heading into Week 13.
His team is sitting at 9-2 and will be coming off a much-needed bye week.
That should mean there is zero question about his future with the Cardinals.
Kingsbury is only 42 years old and should be in Arizona for a long time.
But his name is now being tied to a top college program that just lost its head coach in a shocking manner.
Oklahoma has targeted Cardinals’ HC Kliff Kingsbury as one of the potential replacements for Lincoln Riley, league sources tell ESPN.
Kingsbury has one year remaining on his contract after this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 28, 2021
Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC and that leaves a huge opening at one of the best college football programs in the nation.
Could Kingsbury have real interest in heading back to the college ranks?
One note from Adam Schefter’s report is worth keeping in mind.
Looking For Leverage
Schefter noted that Kingsbury has one year remaining on his contract after this season.
No one wants to enter a new season without knowing their long-term future, and the Cardinals coach may use this Oklahoma link as leverage to land a huge new deal.
Kingsbury could make more money at Oklahoma and would also have more job security at the college program.
Arizona knows all of these facts and may have to make their head coach comfortable with a new deal to shut down any of these rumors.
Kingsbury himself did not exactly say “no” when asked about the link.
#Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury refuses to deny he has interest in the Oklahoma job.
"I don't get into those things. My sole focus the last couple of weeks has been the Bears."
When asked again said: "We're in-season, we're 9-and-2, just not a topic I want to touch right now."
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 29, 2021
So even he is keeping the option open, which is something Cardinals ownership cannot ignore.
Kingsbury is under contract and Oklahoma has some time to conduct a real search for their next head coach.
That will also allow the Cardinals to make sure this hot start is sustained and that Kingsbury is the right man for the long-term.
Based on how his team has played even without Kyler Murray, there is no reason to expect any decline as the Cardinals chase the NFC’s top seed.NEXT: Cardinals Made The Right Decision To Rest Kyler Murray