I’ve seen enough.
The grace period is over. “Keim’s Time” needs to end.
It’s time for the Arizona Cardinals to part ways with General Manager Steve Keim.
The front office executive who is responsible for the most sustained success in franchise history has seemingly used up all of his good graces in Arizona. Since Bruce Arians left the team at the end of the 2017 season, the Cardinals have become the Cleveland Browns.
As of this article, the Arizona Cardinals have won a messily three games in their last 20 attempts. They are on their second consecutive rookie head coach AND first round quarterback.
Just so we’re clear, Keim’s problems didn’t start once Bruce Arians jetsetted for his (temporary) retirement. Keim’s had personnel issues dating back to his well below average draft results, which began in 2013.
To date, none of Steve Keim’s first round selections have even sniffed a second contract. Even worse is that the majority of them flame out before making it to their fifth year option (Jonathan Cooper and Robert Nkemdiche). That’s led to an incredible fall from grace for a roster that managed to reach the NFC title game in 2015.
Draft hits like Tyrann Mathieu, Markus Golden and John Brown slowly saw their play decline under the watch full eye of Keim and company. Each has found new life with other franchises. Undrafted gem Tony Jefferson was undervalued, yet a well run franchise like the Baltimore Ravens awarded him with a four-year, $34 million dollar deal.
Keim reportedly disrespected Jefferson by offering him three-years, $12 million.
Calais Campbell was allowed to walk as a free agent following a likely Ring of Honor career for the Arizona Cardinals. Keim and his fellow front office cronies thought the former Miami standout had played his best football. Campbell has since responded by netting an incredible 29 sacks in 36 games played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Campbell has elevated his career from” Ring of Honor” candidate to potential Hall of Fame inductee.
Keim’s remaining first round picks have grossly underperformed. I’ve long chronicled the failure that is D.J. Humphries’ durability as well as Haason Reddick’s draft position. Humphries and Reddick remain average contributors for a roster desperately starved for impact players.
Let me say, despite negative emotions toward Keim at an all time high, we mustn’t forget all the good that he’s done for the this franchise.
Keim hired Bruce Arians, traded for standouts Carson Palmer and Chandler Jones and managed to build two playoff rosters (14-15). Pro Football Talk even named Keim their back-to-back “General Manager of the Year” for the team’s savvy personnel efforts in 2013 and 2014.
Those efforts would become known in the valley as “Keim Time” signings. Once forgotten players like John Abraham, Eric Winston, Dwight Freeney, Chris Johnson and Karlos Dansby all saw career resurgence in the desert thanks to Keim’s belief in them.
For those contributions, I hope Cardinal fans appreciate Keim’s efforts for this franchise. It’s the primary reason, despite all his mistakes, that he remains employed to this day.
However, following yet another winless month to start the season, it’s obvious that significant change is needed. The roster, which once boosted pro bowlers seemingly at every level, fields too many replacement players to name.
While the offense has improved under first year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the offensive line appears as bad as ever. Add that to the growing list of concerns for a once formidable defense and you’ve got a recipe for another top five pick come April.
If and when Michael Bidwill decides to move on from Keim will be telling. Arizona is fielding an unconventional offense, manned by a former college coach and a 5’9 quarterback. An external candidate may want to recommend a total shakeup.
After going all in with Kingsbury and Murray, that’s not something the Cardinals can consider. It’s far too early to bail on them.
The best route to take, at least for a year, is to promote Cardinal Director of Player Personnel Quentin Harris. Harris is well respected within the scouting community and has been with the franchise since 2008. More importantly, he played a key role in the selection of Kyler Murray.
For what it’s worth, Michael Bidwill has opted to promote from within following the dismissal of his previous two general managers.
Even with all of Keim’s mistakes, it does appear Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury work from an offensive standpoint. Now it’s about finding the right pieces around them to elevate this roster to a respectable level.
The Cardinals must take advantage of Murray’s rookie contract, especially when the team is set to have over $82 million dollars in cap space come 2020.
Combine that with a slew of high draft picks and the Cardinals can turn this rebuild around in a hurry.
That is, assuming, that the right person is pulling the trigger on player personnel.
Unfortunately for Michael Bidwill, that person can no longer be Steve Keim.