The Arizona Cardinals offseason has begun and they are currently in search for their next head coach. But it won’t matter who they hire if GM Steve Keim doesn’t fix the roster that he created. By fixing, that means evaluating the entire roster to determine who stays and who goes.
This team is in rebuild mode. They can’t afford to make any more mistakes moving forward if they want to contend for a playoff spot. This means some players must go in order to right the wrongs that Keim made to the roster.
Here are a few players that have likely played their last down with the Cardinals:
Gresham is having his worst statistical output of his career, like many of his Cardinals teammates this season. He has caught 9-of-12 targets for 94 yards so far this season. He was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty in week 11 against the Raiders that costed the Cardinals a win.
The nine-year veteran tight end has been a penalty king, being the most penalized tight end in 2016 and 2017. For a Cardinals team that can barely muster yards on offense, he certainly isn’t helping his case to remain in Arizona. Of course receiving a career-low in targets isn’t great, but the back injury he suffered in his time as a Bengal is limiting his mobility.
By releasing Gresham, the Cardinals would save $4.75 million in cap space in 2018 and $7 million in 2019.
Brandon Williams will be entering the last year of his rookie contract next season. But, for a player that has been a liability as a cornerback, his potential release has been long overdue. Steve Keim wanted Williams to be the starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson but has disappointed since entering the NFL. He has not lived up to the expectations that Keim has given him.
There is no question that Keim reached for Williams in the third-round in 2016, choosing the cornerback based on his combine numbers and not his performance as a corner at Texas A&M. The constant reliance on him and belief that he can be anymore than what he has shown will continue to set the Cardinals back if they don’t move on from him.
The Cardinals would save $750k in cap space next season with his release.
Not only did the Cardinals take another Williams in the third-round in 2017, his performance since being drafted has also been underwhelming. Keim, yet again, gave Chad Williams some lofty expectations believing that he would become the long-term answer to start opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, his dropped passes and inability to stay healthy throughout the first two years of his career has left the Cardinals scrambling to find answers at wide receiver.
This is yet another case of reaching for a receiver that performed well at his combine or pro day. He did have the stats in college to warrant a third-round pick but the biggest concern for him was his focus drops at Grambling State. These same struggles and more have followed him into his NFL career.
I don’t expect him to be released right away but he’ll have one last opportunity to prove himself during the preseason. By releasing him, the Cardinals would save $495k in cap space next season.
Starting from the hiring of Steve Keim as the General Manager in 2013 to 2015, the Cardinals have found gold in the third-round. They drafted Tyrann Mathieu (2013), Kareem Martin (2014), John Brown (2014), and David Johnson (2015), all of which have exceeded expectations when they played here.
Is it because of this that Steve Keim felt that he could draft whoever he wanted in the third-round believing that they would turnout just like them?
The Cardinals have to get rid of their problems and not continue to rely on players that constantly struggle. As of now, Keim’s job is safe for at least one more year. But how much longer will they continue to keep him around?