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Cardinals GM Steve Keim coy about QBs, talks 53-man roster deadline

General manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during team OTA's at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center on May 29, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Decisions, decisions. Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim must make them despite a limited offseason of evaluation time due to the coronavirus.

Arizona will whittle the roster to 53 players by Saturday at 1 p.m., and Keim told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf that most of the big decisions have been made.

“I would say it’s pretty much set in stone,” the GM said.

Here’s what Keim addressed Friday during his weekly appearance with Doug & Wolf at 7:45 a.m.

— Pressed about the possibility of the Cardinals carrying three quarterbacks into the season, the general manager praised both 2019 backup Brett Hundley and CFL product Chris Streveler.

“I know one (quarterback) for sure and that is No. 1,” Keim said of Kyler Murray. “Guy continues to grow and get better, and he’s been fun to watch this preseason. His ability to process and see the field and make quick decisions, it has been fun to watch.

“Then the other two guys have had nice camps. Certainly, Chris Streveler has been a pleasant surprise … not only his ability to throw the football and to do some of those things that have been impressive during camp, but his athleticism. I mean, the guy runs in the 4.4s, he’s physical, he’s got nice size. There’s some potential to play on special teams as well.”

— Keim listed these additional positions as difficult to evaluate leading into the cut deadline:

Running back: How many do the Cardinals keep? Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds are givens, but the Cardinals might want to see what they can develop out of seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin, who is fighting fellow Sun Devil D.J. Foster for a roster spot. Central Michigan undrafted rookie Jonathan Ward, a big back who has receiving skills, is also still on the roster.

Inside linebacker: It’s suddenly a deep room. Tanner Vallejo flashed last year and knows the system well, but he might be expendable if Arizona keeps special teamer Zeke Turner and 2020 sixth-round pick Evan Weaver.

Cornerback: The Cardinals got fine efforts out of Chris Jones and Kevin Peterson last year when Patrick Peterson’s suspension and Robert Alford’s season-ending injury struck. They might have room for just one of them moving forward, forcing them to choose between Jones’ size and Peterson’s nickel abilities. That’s without considering undrafted rookie Jace Whittaker, who got first team reps in camp, and veteran Ken Crawley.

Safety: Offseason addition Kentrell Brice has 36 games of NFL experience but suffered a leg injury in the Red & White practice that Kingsbury said isn’t as severe as it looked. Even if bad injury luck takes him out of the picture, the Cardinals may cut one of Chris Banjo or Charles Washington, two players re-signed from last year, if they don’t want to carry five safeties.

Extra points

— Keim is impressed with the maturity of fourth-round pick Rashard Lawrence out of LSU. His maturity and NFL readiness from a technique standpoint was a talking point in camp, so expect that the defensive tackle gets reps immediately behind nose Corey Peters.

— Touching on D.J. Humphries’ reconstructed salary, Keim cited the need for flexibility this year and also the 2021 season, when he said there could be a $23 million cap reduction due to the coronavirus’ financial impact.

— Keim called backup running back Chase Edmonds the most underrated player on the team. He also said 2020 third-round pick Josh Jones showed very well in camp at offensive tackle before he got “nicked up.”

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