NFL free agency: Arizona Cardinals managing contracts well so far

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

General manager Steve Keim doing well so far at managing the salary cap.

In his second offseason, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has shown that he can get a deal when it comes to player contracts. Last offseason it was not terribly difficult, as it was not a good market for veterans. This offseason, with $10 million added to the salary cap, that has not been so much the case.

However, so far Keim has been very solid in his contract planning and negotiations.

Let's look at some of the deals he has made so far.

Here are the 2013 signings and re-signings:

Rashad Johnson: three years, $3.6 million (re-sign)

Lorenzo Alexander: three years, $4.62 million

Jerraud Powers: three years, $10.5 million

Drew Stanton: three years, $8.2 million

John Abraham: two years, $4.6 million

Jasper Brinkley: two years, $3.5 million

Matt Shaughnessy: one year, $1 million

Karlos Dansby: one year, $2.25 million

Frostee Rucker: one year, $950,000

Yeremiah Bell: one year, $905,000

Antoine Cason: one year, $1.5 million

Eric Winston: one year, $1.25 million

Paul Fanaika: one year, $630,000, given an extension through 2014 $830,000

Notice how the only deal that created any dead money is Brinkley's, and that was only $200,000. Powers and Alexander aren't out of the woods yet, but the team did not hurt themselves with their contracts.

Now look at 2014 -- the signings and re-signings:

Larry Fitzgerald: restructure, $12.75 million salary given as bonus, salary reduced to $1 million, cap hit reduced by about $10 million

Dave Zastudil: two years, $2.95 million (re-signing)

Jay Feely: one year, $1.02 million (no signing bonus, $65K roster bonus if he makes team) (re-signing)

Jake Ballard: one year, unknown so far (re-signing)

Frostee Rucker: two years, $2.145 million (re-signing)

Matt Shaughnessy: two years, $4.4 million (re-signing)

Marcus Benard: one year, unknown yet (re-signing)

Jared Veldheer: five years, $35 million

John Carlson: two years, $3.2 million

Ted Larsen: two years, unknown yet

Jonathan Dwyer: one year, unknown yet

Of the deals done, only Larry Fitzgerald's contract is an issue. The cap hit jumps to more than $23 million in 2015. Feely can be cut with no consequence. Carlson's deal only had a signing bonus of $100K, so there is no real risk if he is a flop this year.

Keim got to work his first big deal with Veldheer, and even that deal was cap friendly, as it only has a hit of $2.5 million this season.

There is work still to be done, but Keim has not been giving out huge contracts. He has been protecting the team's current and future salary cap situations.

Will the trend continue? That has been the case with free agents. The big deal will be how he handles other negotiations -- like the extension for Patrick Peterson that could come this offseason or next offseason. There is also the matter of Fitzgerald's contract next offseason. Something will have to be done.

Is Keim a financial genius? We still have to wait and see.

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