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Keim: Don’t read into Cardinals restructuring Chandler Jones’ contract

Quarterback Matthew Stafford # 9 of the Detroit Lions is sacked by Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL football game at State Farm Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim might understand why Arizona fans were reading between the lines.

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jaylen Ramsey is good. Speculation that he could be traded to the Cardinals makes for good talk radio.

After Ramsey asked the Jaguars to trade him this week, it was easy to link the news to a report out of Arizona on Thursday: that the Cardinals had restructured outside linebacker Chandler Jones’ contract.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reported the Jones news in a tweet that also mentioned Ramsey, made the tie-in between the two events even easier.

But don’t read into it, Keim told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“We were under a million dollars from a cap standpoint,” Keim said Friday. “It’s not anything that we haven’t done before. It’s … an exercise that a lot of teams do year in and year out, and it’s just to increase some flexibility. There’s been a number of injuries that we’ve incurred in the preseason.

“When you have injury replacements and all those sort of things, you just want to make sure you have some flexibility moving forward throughout the season. It also gives you the ability to extend any players in the future that you’re excited about. I wouldn’t read anything into that conversion.”

The Cardinals shaved $4 million off their cap sheet by reworking Jones’ current deal.

By the way, Keim also didn’t want to discuss Ramsey or other players not on Arizona’s roster because it’s against the NFL’s tampering rules.

“You guys are trying to Ron Rivera me,” Keim told Doug & Wolf, referencing the Panthers head coach walking out of a testy press conference Thursday.

Optimistic about David Johnson

It’s only two games in. And if you’ll remember, Cardinals running back David Johnson had a pretty productive Week 1.

He had 18 rushing attempts for 82 yards (4.6 yards per carry) to go with six catches for 55 more, including a touchdown, against the Detroit Lions.

Last week at Baltimore, Johnson had a touchdown on the ground but just seven rushing attempts for 14 yards and one reception for no gain.

Has he been underwhelming?

Maybe. Yet Arizona, in terms of play-calling, has also struggled to get the running game in a rhythm as it has taken early deficits against the Lions and Ravens.

Johnson could be better. So could the Cardinals as a whole when it comes to presenting a more balanced attack.

“I think David would be the first to tell you that he’s left some plays out there, and there’s no doubt that I still feel like he’s going to have a very good year for us,” Keim said.

“I don’t think there’s any secret to have more success as a team, we have to develop a run game and we have to establish that factor. I think David’s best football is ahead of him, and I think he’s up for that challenge.”

Doug & Wolf

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