Quickly following news that the Raiders would not be closing the deal to make former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury their next offensive coordinator under now official head coach Antonio Pierce, rumors are circulating that Kingsbury is now the leading candidate for the same position in Washington, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. After spending 2023 as a senior offensive analyst at USC, Kingsbury’s return to the NFL seems inevitable at this point.
Two days ago, the NFL world was under the impression that Kingsbury would become the next offensive play-caller in Las Vegas. That story changed this morning with Kingsbury informing multiple people in the Raiders organization that he would not be joining the team. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, there was “a contractual hang-up” that prevented Kingsbury from following through on those initial reports, and as a result, the Commanders have swooped in, setting Kingsbury in their sights. Arizona Football Daily‘s Mike Jurecki adds that the Raiders offered a two-year contract, whereas Kingsbury was aiming for a three-year pact.
Washington makes sense for Kingsbury for a number of reasons. The Commanders recently landed on former Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their replacement for former head coach Ron Rivera. Quinn being a defensive coach puts the Commanders in a different situation than teams like the Titans or Panthers, whose offensive-minded head coaches will be calling plays over their respective offensive coordinators. Kingsbury will be handed the keys to a young offense, something he has experience with from his time in Arizona.
The Commanders also make sense because there seems to be a very real chance that the team could draft a former pupil of Kingsbury’s in USC quarterback Caleb Williams. Though Williams has long been rumored to be the No. 1 overall pick and the Commanders sit at No. 2, rumors have picked up recently that the Bears, who hold the top pick, will not be trading down. While that could mean Williams is headed to Chicago to try and displace Justin Fields as the starting quarterback, there have been an equal number of rumors stating that Williams wants nothing to do with the Bears, meaning he could slip down to No. 2 and end up a Commander being coached by his former mentor.
Kingsbury reportedly interviewed with the Commanders and Quinn recently, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and though neither side seems to have settled on an agreement, both sides seem to be moving in the right direction.
As for Vegas, their search for their next play-caller under Pierce continues. UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, who had been a name to watch in Washington before this most recent news of Kingsbury’s prospects, and former Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy are names to watch, according to Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS. Getsy was considered a top candidate for the position when Kingsbury was originally announced, and Kelly may shift focus to the Raiders if the Commanders do indeed shift theirs to Kingsbury.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN mentions that Las Vegas recently spoke to former Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, amounting to what could essentially be considered a coordinator exchange should Bieniemy land in Vegas and Kingsbury be hired in DC. He also mentions that the team spoke with former Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton but includes that Hamilton may just be in consideration for a position coaching job.
So, today’s breaking news from Vegas does create a bit of a shuffle, but both the Raiders and Commanders seem to have reacted quickly in the fallout. As a result, Washington could be closing in on their new play-caller, while Las Vegas continues to explore their options.