The Washington Commanders are hiring Kliff Kingsbury as the team’s offensive coordinator, league and team sources told The Athletic on Sunday. Kingsbury withdrew his name from consideration from the Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive coordinator opening late Friday night after contract talks broke down, according to league sources.
Kingsbury, 44, had a 28-37-1 record as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2019 to 2022. He worked as a senior offensive analyst for USC last season.
Kingsbury is the first major hire under new Washington coach Dan Quinn and general manager Adam Peters. The Commanders have the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft and six selections in the top 102.
Why Washington made this move
Owner, general manager, head coach. That’s the hierarchy of importance for an organization among non-players. No different with the revamped Commanders.
Yet, the identity of the next offensive coordinator generated massive intrigue from the moment the defensive-minded Quinn became coach. That individual would become the primary person tasked with developing a likely rookie quarterback selected with the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL draft.
Choosing Kingsbury only ramps up the intrigue. The former Cardinals coach spent the 2023 season on USC’s staff, working with Caleb Williams, the draft’s projected first pick.
Williams, a D.C. native, and Kingsbury could reunite with the Commanders if the passer remains on the board at No. 2 or Washington acquires the first pick from Chicago. North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels are in play for top three selections. Incumbent QB Sam Howell remains on the roster.
Kingsbury’s head-coaching record is spotty on the pro and college levels, but he tutored two-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech and Kyler Murray with Arizona. He also overlapped with new Commanders GM Peters on the 2003 Patriots. — Ben Standig, Commanders beat writer
What does this mean for Eric Bieniemy?
Going for Kingsbury further complicates the situation for Eric Bieniemy. Hired as Washington’s offensive coordinator last year, Bieniemy has one year remaining on his contract. Though he interviewed for the head-coaching job, it appears the former Chiefs’ OC will be on a third team in three years.
The Commanders tied for 24th in points scored last season, averaging 19.4 points.
Washington’s offense requires more help beyond the quarterback position. At least two new offensive line starters are likely. The tight end room might face a complete overhaul. Replacements for wide receiver Curtis Samuel and running back Antonio Gibson are required if the free agents don’t return.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, right guard Sam Cosmi and running back Brian Robinson represent the core pieces on offense. The Commanders have six selections in the top 102 to find more pieces. — Standig
(Photo: Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today)