Cardinals’ Steve Keim listed in top-third of’s GM power rankings

Apr 19, 2018, 9:36 AM

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The first era of Steve Keim’s tenure as Arizona Cardinals general manager is over.

It couldn’t have gone much better. Keim hired head coach Bruce Arians and managed a roster that over the last five seasons went 49-30-1 with two playoff appearances and one run to the NFC Championship Game.

The general manager is in the midst of starting from scratch once again after Arians retired, but according to’s Gregg Rosenthal, Keim’s reputation is strong heading into his second reset.

Rosenthal listed Keim No. 10 in his NFL general manager power rankings with the 2018 season looming.

The ability to reboot a roster with a new head coach separates good general managers from the greats.

He’s authored solid drafts, big-time trades (for Carson Palmer and Chandler Jones) and made the type of effective in-season injury-replacement moves that rarely get noticed. The overall body of work (49-30-1) is impressive, but the roster is currently full of question marks. Keim has earned the benefit of the doubt that he’ll see it through.

The rebuild the second time around is following a similar plan to the first.

Like acquiring Palmer, a quarterback who others thought was out of tread in 2013, Keim signed veteran quarterback Sam Bradford this offseason, plucking him out of the NFL’s recycle bin after injuries hurt his stock. To get the most out of Bradford, the Cardinals put an emphasis on spending to shore up the offensive line.

With not much money left, Keim’s resume will be put under the microscope with his low-profile signings.

Take the receiving group as an example — there, Keim signed former Dallas Cowboys receiver Brice Butler and picked up former Houston Texans wideout Cobi Hamilton off waivers. Of his draft picks, the development of players like receiver Chad Williams, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, linebacker Haason Reddick and safety Budda Baker will be key.

Veteran tackle Frostee Rucker and linebacker Karlos Dansby remain on the free agent market, and the Cardinals parted ways with safety Tyrann Mathieu, who turned down a paycut to join the Texans. Arizona also lost two starting-caliber receivers in free agency: John Brown and Jaron Brown.

Keim’s resume looks strong, but in the business of NFL management, past success means little. His next act hinges on Bradford’s success or lack thereof, Arizona’s player development and the upcoming NFL Draft.

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