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Steve Keims and Danny Dimes

John Gambadoro’s report that the Cardinals may have seen a future with Daniel Jones calls out the front office

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

There was a bit of a surprise this week in previewing the Cardinals/Giants game in which AZ sports John Gambadoro, a long-time source for Arizona Cardinals news, broke a bit of news of his own.

This was backed up (though not 100% confirmed by Kliff Kingsbury in a later press conference). The report?

The Cards were high enough on Daniel Jones as a prospect that if they had received the right offer.

High enough that if they had traded back into the teens, there was an opportunity that they would have taken him with their first round pick and STILL moved on from Josh Rosen.

Details below starting at around 13 minutes:

And Kliff Kingsbury in his friday press conference also revealed that the Cardinals DID have Jones very high up there.

Didn’t give a grade, obviously, but it’s not like they denied anything.

As a fan, you’ll also hear rumors and whispers of things before the draft and one of the bigger narratives that was carried under the table that came to my ears wasn’t just that Kingsbury was enamored with Kyler Murray (that’s clear in interviews during that time) but also whispers that they weren’t sold on Rosen’s ability.

Since his stint with the Dolphins has resulted in the team giving up on him after basically 3 quarters of him as the unquestioned starter, while we might never know the “what if” outcomes we can at least see proof that they were probably right on.

So...what are we to make of this news? I have two thoughts and think there will be likely camps of Cards fans who may or may not disagree with the following points.

#1. Whew....Glad they didn’t trade back and take Jones, right?

Look, it’s clear that Kyler Murray at this point is a better quality quarterback than a guy like Daniel Jones.

More accurate, smart (mastered the offense and even reading defenses) better decisions and unique rushing ability.

After Jones was sacked 8 times (clearly holding onto the ball too long at times) and there were three forced’s clear head to head that the early returns probably wouldn’t have been great.

Which begs the question—out of all the choices Arizona could have was that even a legit option?

I’ve believed for a while now that right or wrong, Steve Keim’s value of a quarterback isn’t nearly as high as his value on building up a football team as a whole. This can be shown by the team’s moves in finding a quarterback post-Palmer, as has been well-documented.

  • No Watson/Mahomes trade up
  • Propped up Blaine Gabbert as a reclamation project only to bench him for Stanton
  • No QB’s under contract following 2017
  • Last team to hire a HC with some turning them down due to likely, lack of a QB
  • Prepared to pay Kirk Cousins a huge deal but he picked Minnesota
  • Signed Bradford and Glennon
  • Gave up a 3rd and 5th for Rosen while Bills/Jets gave up multiple 2nd round picks plus for their quarterbacks (including Josh Allen who I can report Keim loved pre-draft)
  • Result? Cut Bradford, Glennon in action outplayed Rosen and Josh had one of the worst rookie seasons on record for a QB.

All in all, you get the feeling that Keim’s just got weeeeeird priorities with the QB decision.

Like, he knows you have to have one and find a young one but...he doesn’t seem to value that specific position at a place of more importance when the reality is that it’s everything in the NFL.

That can be a tough pill to swallow for some GM’s who can pride themselves on their ability to build up a team and win games to adjust to a new league in which the Cardinals went 3-13 with a “team first” model and a year later are 3-3-1 with not much difference besides the quarterback.

It means that you as a GM are hopeless and powerless. It’s emasculating.

So therefore, when a guy like Kliff Kingsbury is hired by Keim and comes in and the move to Kyler Murray is made, the priority is different. Kyler goes at #1 versus trading back for pieces to surround Josh.

And success comes in, showing that there’s a connection between head coach and QB rather than maybe GM and QB. And maybe the GM’s biggest job is to find that guy and then add talent around them.

And Keim failed in that regard. Kliff seemed to get what was needed for success in K1.

Bad enough that they were looking at multiple options in 2019...oof.


The idea of any sort of additional 2019 QB as an option looks foolhardy as well.

How on EARTH could Steve Keim make a move for Josh Rosen and then have it be a year later that he’s so bad they’re not just moving on from him for Kyler Murray....but they were apparently willing to move on for a lesser talent like Daniel Jones? BAD was their opinion of Rosen? Yikes.

The fact that Keim could swing and miss like that is frustrating. Essentially it means that Rosen was so bad after one season the Cardinals were ready to move on.

Let me repeat that....

After one season, Josh Rosen was so bad the Cardinals were ready to move on. Keim swung and missed...and kept his job.

That’s nearly unbelievable.

But that’s not the end of the story.

#2. Credit Keim and the Cardinals in the end for being willing to make the move

There’s multiple examples of teams holding on to bad QB’s rather than moving to a better option because of what they’ve invested into them.

Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Bills, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, yeah there’s a lot in recent years.

So for the Cardinals & Steve Keim to not merely believe they were given an opportunity to make a move for a stud QB like Kyler Murray but to move off of a quarterback who’s shown nothing in the league ENTIRELY and so commendable.

100%. No sarcasm here.

I have no argument as I would think that given his mobility maybe Daniel Jones is better than a guy like Josh Rosen, but the player itself isn’t the point. It’s the overall philosophy of working to upgrade your football team.

While Kingsbury and maybe even others might get more credit overall, the guy pulling the trigger is still Steve.

And for that I applaud him.

These two dualities of missing poorly in a quarterback evaluation but being willing to admit fault and move on is something that while I’ve been harsh to Keim, is commendable and I tip my cap.

It’s not a black-and-white picture for the Cardinals’ general manager in his career. He’s had ups and downs. If it were, things would be simple. And that’s the duality of the NFL in general. There are drawbacks and criticism even with positive moves that are made, and the league is unforgiving.

For me though, perhaps there’s a positive step toward forgiveness that Cardinals fans can make now with a team sitting at 3-3-1 after some swore to never forgive Steve Keim might be willing to, just this once, give some props.

Or some may double down and get even more upset at the idea that they screwed up in the first place.

Whatever the response, it’s fun to not have a “what if” in this scenario as the reality of Kyler Murray on the Cardinals so far is the alternative that Cardinals fans have been waiting for.