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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cardinals, Texans Add to Lengthy Bill for Fired NFL Head Coaches

  • NFL teams have spent $800M on fired coaches and executives since 2017.
  • Arizona fired Kliff Kingsbury after giving him a five-year extension last offseason.
Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

One of the NFL’s more joyless annual traditions, Black Monday, has already claimed the jobs of two head coaches — and is a stark reminder of how much money some teams spend on fired coaches and executives.

After defeating the Indianapolis Colts 32-31 on Sunday and losing the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft, the Houston Texans fired Lovie Smith after just one season and a 3-13-1 record as head coach.

The Texans have now had a one-and-done head coach for two consecutive seasons after David Culley was fired after going 4-13 in 2021. While the terms of Smith’s deal were not reported, it seems likely that it was a short-term deal, meaning the firing is not expected to cost Houston dearly.

The same can’t be said for the Arizona Cardinals, who fired Kliff Kingsbury on Monday after a dismal 4-13 season. The team also announced that general manager Steve Keim will be “stepping away” from the team to focus on his health.

The Cardinals extended Kingsbury and Keim last offseason in deals that would keep them in Arizona through 2027.

Ironically, Kingsbury’s original contract with the club, signed in 2019, included a team option for his fifth season — meaning the Cardinals could have parted ways with him for nothing on Monday, but will now be on the hook for five years of guaranteed money.

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In December, NFL officials informed owners that the league’s 32 franchises had collectively spent over $800 million on fired coaches and front-office executives over the last five years.

Several coaches and execs were let go before the season even ended.

  • The Carolina Panthers fired HC Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow in October.
  • The Colts fired HC Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady in November.
  • In December, the Tennessee Titans fired GM Jon Robinson, while the Denver Broncos fired first-year HC Nathaniel Hackett.

Even if the price of admission is extravagant, NFL owners seem committed to keep riding the coaching carousel.

Carolina, Cleveland, Denver, and Tennessee have all reportedly requested or scheduled interviews to replace their departed staff members.

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