Bucs’ Jason Licht couldn’t reach Cardinals GM Steve Keim to trade up

Apr 27, 2020, 10:04 AM | Updated: 6:58 pm
(Getty Images)...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said going into the 2020 NFL Draft that he was “up for” making a trade if the right one came along.

But eventually, that willingness expired.

Jason Licht, the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who once was the Cardinals’ VP of player personnel under Keim, was looking to make a move in Thursday’s first round, as documented by NBC Sports’ Peter King. But once versatile Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons was on the board with the Cardinals on the clock, Licht couldn’t get a hold of his old office mate.

Trading is tough. Licht made about 30 calls during the week, up and down, to see which teams might want to go up or down in the top half of the draft. Tonight, Carolina (picking seven) is a no. “I don’t think they’d deal even if we offer next year’s one,” McCartney, who’d been the Panthers contact, tells Licht. Arizona (eight) has to be a no. GM Steve Keim won’t pick up Licht’s call. Licht: “He’s one of my best friends, and he told me, ‘If you want to come up, gimme a call.’ Now he doesn’t answer.” Someone on the videoconference says to Licht: “Got a hold of Jacksonville yet?” Jacksonville (nine) has not been eager to move out.

Keim, enthusiastic about getting Simmons as late as eighth overall, indicated after his selection on Thursday that the Cardinals had no intention of letting the blue-chip prospect get away.

“Regardless of whether there were calls, and I did field some trade calls, this was a player that we were not going to pass on,” he told reporters.

The lack of trades in the first round, at least early on, was a storyline during Thursday’s NFL Draft, which was done remotely. It’s not clear whether the altered format of the draft had anything to do with teams failing to get deals done. Probably not, as teams aren’t ever in the same location on draft day anyway.

“We were able to follow along, the league has a live view that’s through a website that I’m able to watch,” Keim said. “I’m able, as live time goes, [to] watch the picks come in, see how much time is left on the clock. This format, because it’s virtual, it does seem a little quicker to me than being in a draft war room and that sort of thing, but I felt like it was pretty smooth.

“Again, the biggest thing is being prepared, having your board stacked the right way, trusting in it, and once your opportunity is up to pick you go ahead and make the selection.”

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Bucs’ Jason Licht couldn’t reach Cardinals GM Steve Keim to trade up