Steve Keim has been a general manager for 90 days. He’s made 33 maneuvers. The math is working well for the Cardinals. He has signed 13 new players, re-signed 10 existing players and released nine others. His first trade was a steal, delivering more quarterback than we’ve had in years. With the NFL draft still on the horizon, Keim already has upgraded the football team and the front office. Along with his hand-picked head coach, he has helped restore optimism inside a fallen program. “When I became general manager, I talked about how this was a retool and not a rebuild,” Keim said. “But I think anybody could’ve looked at our roster and realized we needed to cut some fat; we needed to make some tough decisions.” Keim jettisoned the career underachievers (Beanie Wells, Early Doucet). He released high-dollar safeties, including a player who will eventually be in the team’s ring of honor (Adrian Wilson). He made good on his vow to be proactive and not reactive, learning from the errors of his predecessor. For years, the Cardinals have been a speed bump for visiting free agents. Most of them came to Arizona, toured the facilities and left. They used the Cardinals as leverage to get a better deal elsewhere. So Keim developed a counter strategy. His free-agent board featured 21 names. He signed seven of his top nine players. According to Keim, all seven were given contract offers that were no longer valid once they left the facility. “Once a guy left and his feet were on the plane, we were moving on to the next guy,” Keim said. “We aggressively pursued the names on our board, and it worked out for the best.” Keim has other philosophies. He desires a powerful running game. He wanted longer, younger defensive linemen to help pursue the new breed of read-option quarterbacks, which represent 31 percent of the Cardinals’ upcoming schedule: two games against Seattle’s Russell Wilson, two games against San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and one against Carolina’s Cam Newton.
New Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim off to a big-time start
Arizona Republic | Apr 8