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Cardinals hire Kliff Kingsbury as next head coach [update]

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The NFC West is adding another innovative offensive mind.

Fooch’s update: The deal appears to be done. Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are both reporting that Kingsburry is the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

The Arizona Cardinals are deep into their search for a new head coach, and they are taking a turn for the flavor of the month. The team is set to interview former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Cardinals have already interviewed Adam Gase, Jim Caldwell, Zac Taylor and Dan Campbell are completed.

Kingsbury was fired at Texas Tech last month and shortly after was hired by USC to serve as offensive coordinator. There was speculation NFL teams would be interested in Kingsbury, but USC had been blocking interviews. That has apparently changed and he is getting busy interviewing. He reportedly interviewed with the New York Jets on Monday, and multiple reports today suggest the Cardinals job is his if he wants it.

It remains to be seen if Kingsbury resigned to open up these interviews, or if USC was willing to grant permission. If it’s the latter, it would seem likely that he knows he can land one of the openings. And even if not, it seems a decent bet he will land an NFL job this offseason. He could very well stay at USC, but given how quickly he is attempting to leave the job, it would seem like he has a pretty good handle on his NFL options even before a formal offer is made.

It is not entirely shocking Kingsbury is generating this kind of interest. NFL teams are infusing more and more college schemes and philosophies, and Kingsbury is generally viewed as one of the more innovative offensive minds. Additionally, the NFL is a perpetual copy-cat league, and that is likely down to the idea of hiring a young, innovative head coach in the mold of Sean McVay. Whether or not Kyle Shanahan is the better young coach is a debate for another day, but with the Rams success the past two years, teams want to imitate what is working. Kingsbury potentially brings the best of both worlds.

The Cardinals and Jets both offer Kingsbury intriguing options. They both offer young quarterbacks to build around, and both teams have considerable cap space to add weapons to their quarterbacks’ arsenals. The key will be finding a veteran defensive mind, which is easier said than done. But it would not be surprising to see Kingsbury land with one of those two teams when all is said and done.