The offseason started quietly enough, but for the second time in two years the Arizona Cardinals are the talk of the NFL.
After the winds of change blew the Cardinals over toe Kyler Murray in 2019, the trade winds have blown three-time All Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
In fact, the three things Keim set out to do on offense this offseason he accomplished before day one of free agency truly started.
Keim signed D.J. Humphries to a three-year extension, locking up a first round draft pick on a second contract for the first time in his tenure along the way.
He want to make sure the Cardinals would have running back Kenyan Drake in the fold in 2020. While that is not a certainty, it feels like $8.5 million is going to be a tough number to beat and now with David Johnson gone, the Cardinals have a little wiggle room in terms of a long-term (for a running back deal).
Finally, Keim wanted to get Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray their top receiving threat. This was always one of the keys to the offseason. It felt nearly certain that CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy would be the pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and while it may still turn out to be, they have a proven veteran locked in for three years in DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins does two things for the Cardinals:
- He gives the Cardinals a true number one receiver to take the burden off of Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. In fact, with Fitz ostensibly a 2 and Kirk a 3 in the hierarchy, the Cardinals have a good to potentially great receiving corps.
- It takes the pressure off of Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler for another season. Anything from these two is just gravy and gives you some freedom and hope for the future.
With Hopkins in the fold, with Humphries back and with Drake likely back, the Cardinals can now focus on the defense.
That may be through free agency, that may be in the draft, that may be a mixture of the two, but what Steve Keim has done to set up the Cardinals for free agency and the draft is impressive.
Now, let’s see how he executes.