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What’s Next for Keim, Wilks and Cardinals?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Press Conference Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If Cardinals’ owner and team president Michael Bidwill decides to clean the slate and start afresh with a new GM and head coach, what could that mean for Steve Keim, Steve Wilks and the Arizona Cardinals?

Per the NFL rumor mill, Steve Keim may have a potential landing spot with Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders recently fired long-time GM Regggie McKenzie, thus the Raiders need to find the right match for Gruden. Without question, Steve Keim could be that guy. The Raiders, thanks to trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, are sitting on 3 1st round draft picks—-which would have any new GM licking his chops. That would be like giving a kid a free one hour shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us.

If Bruce Arians gets another coaching gig—-and he is salivating over the Browns’ job—-perhaps Arians could persuade his new team to hire Keim.

if the Panthers clean house—-Steve Keim could go back to his North Carolina college roots. That would be quite a football odyssey.

But, if no golden opportunity presents itself, it might be a boon for Steve Keim to follow BA into the broadcasting business, particularly if ESPN’s studio NFL analyst Louis Riddick lands a GM job this year. Keim would be a natural as studio analyst. First of all, he has extraordinary recall when it comes to college and NFL players and teams. Secondly, Keim is about as articulate as football gurus come—-his scouting reports (chock-full of NFL comparisons) are fabulous sound bites. For a couple of years, Keim could make quite a national impression—-before landing his next GM job.

For Steve Wilks it would make perfect sense for him to be reunited with Ron Rivera. It’s possible that Rivera could be on the head coaching job market this year if the Panthers clean house. In my opinion, Rivera would be a hot commodity and would fill one of the coaching vacancies this year. Steve Wilks is the perfect sidekick to Rivera—-their chemistry is unique and they fill-in each other’s gaps. Thus, for right now, being the assistant head coach to Rivera feels like the perfect job for Wilks—so much so that by the time Rivera wants to retire, Wilks could be in line to take over. By then, the system would be already in place for him to succeed as a head coach.

Eventually, Wilks might consider it a dream come true to become the head coach at his alma mater, Appalachian St. This would be another feel-good example of a football odyssey.

As for the Cardinals, if Michael Bidwill starts searching for a new GM, here is my short list of candidates:

Let’s let the videos do the talking—-take a good look and chime in with your impressions.

  • Eliot Wolf (Browns’ asst. GM)—-the son of legendary Packer’s GM Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf, a 15 year NFL scout, spent 14 years with the Packers. One could see Michael Bidwill become very excited about a possible Eliot Wolf/Freddie Kitchens GM/HC package. Wolf is ready for the next step and Kitchens’ recent work with Baker Mayfield and the Browns’ offense is a bright indication that he could be the right head coach for Josh Rosen and the Cardinals.

  • Scott Fitterer (Seahawks’ co-director of player personnel)—-superb talent scout—-has been getting GM interviews the past couple of years. Knows the NFC West.

  • Louis Riddick (ESPN NFL analyst)—-here is Riddick’s take on Josh Rosen—-after watching this I would hire him on the spot, seriously. Must see video.

  • Mike Borgonzi (Chiefs’ director of football operations)—-one of the wizards behind the curtain in Kansas City. This guy is the ultimate football junkie and is one of the brightest talent evaluators in the NFL.

Interestingly, if you ask NFL scouting legend and talent guru Gil Brandt whom he would hire as GM—-at the top of his list is Terry McDonough.

McDonough credits Ozzie Newsome for much of his development as a player personnel executive—-and it looks like his mentor Ozzie Newsome may also be on the GM market. If the Cardinals want to go with an experienced GM, Ozzie Newsome would be tough to beat.

Of these candidates—-the one who intrigues and compels me the most is Louis Riddick. I think he would completely change the image of the Arizona Cardinals. I love the passionate way in which he speaks about Josh Rosen and feel like Rosen would be in superb hands with Riddick, who would provide Rosen with the best possible support system. Riddick played in the NFL for eight years and he was the director of player personnel for multi-year stints with the Redskins and Eagles—-thus, he is highly qualified for the position.

All of the young up-and-coming candidates (Wolf, Fitterer and Borgonzi) fascinate me as well. And while I feel that cleaning the slate in Arizona may be the best way to go, I think Terry McDonough will be a very good GM, if and when he gets his chance.

Ozzie Newsome as Cardinals’ GM, with Terry McDonough staying in his current role, may be a pipe dream—-apparently Newsome intends to stay on as an advisor in 2109 to new GM Eric DeCosta—-but, Newsome is only 62 years old, and if the right offer were to come around, who knows?

That said, Louis Riddick is the potential candidate who has me the most excited. I think he and Michael Bidwill would form an immediate bond. Equally important, I firmly believe that Riddick would reverse the current trend and make Arizona a hot spot for free agents.