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Cards GM Steve Keim: Tramon Williams signing not a ‘knee-jerk reaction’

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) catches a pass in front of Cleveland Browns cornerback Tramon Williams (22) during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Cleveland. Arizona won 34-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

The Arizona Cardinals are still a few days away from their first of five preseason games, yet there is already concern about the depth at one position.

The cornerback spot opposite All-Pro Patrick Peterson is that position. It was a question mark entering camp, and has become a bigger one so far.

The position has been hit by the injury bug. Starter Justin Bethel has been on the sideline for a few practices after hyperextending his right knee. Reserve Elie Bouka hasn’t practiced since early in camp and veteran Jumal Rolle reached an injury settlement with the team.

That left the door open for Ronald Zamort, and he walked through it, earning first-team snaps heading into Saturday’s annual Red and White Practice, but he suffered a torn ACL during the session and is lost for the season.

General manager Steve Keim acted quickly, signing free-agent Tramon Williams to man the position. But Keim said the move had been in the works for quite some time.

“It’s been a few weeks, so it wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the injury,” Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday morning on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “As you know, when we approach camp, it’s always been my philosophy to start attacking that free agent market that has some of those players who are unsigned that we liked in the spring and are out there because of injuries or contract demands or those sort of things.”

Keim believes the 34-year-old former Pro Bowler will fill a need and offer quite a bit to the Arizona defense.

“Really liked what Tramon brought to the table in terms of leadership and the kind of guy he is in the locker room,” Keim said. “The tape that I watched on him, he’s got great positional versatility. He played a little out of position, in my opinion, at safety when he was in Cleveland, but then go back and see him at perimeter corner in Green Bay and played some nickel. He just really has a good feel for the game.

“He’s got really good feet, he’s got great quickness. And the one thing I really liked was his understanding of leverage and route combinations. The way that he can jump those things is really what it’s all about.”

Williams spent the last two seasons with the Browns, starting a total of 22 games in that span. His best years came in Green Bay, where he spent eight seasons after latching on as an undrafted free agent in 2007. Williams’ best year was 2010, when he made the Pro Bowl on the strength of a career-high six interceptions and 20 passes defensed while helping the Packers to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

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