OTAs and mini-camp are now a thing of the past.
For the Arizona Cardinals, the next thing on the docket is training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It is there where battles for roles and roster spots will be waged, as the Cardinals look to trim their roster to 53 by the Week 1 opener against the New Orleans Saints.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim will then have a problem.
“It’s a good concern, (but) for the first time we have a certain amount of depth here where we’re either going to have the ability to trade a player, or two, or four or five at certain positions that can not only make other NFL rosters, but could potentially start for some teams,” he told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “So I have to be active and make sure that I address that situation so we’re not just releasing players and allowing players to pick them up.
“Hopefully we can be active and get some solid value for guys who can help other teams.”
The decisionmaking may be made even more complicated if Keim and the Cardinals add more talent to the roster as training camp nears, which has kind of been Keim’s M.O. since taking over as general manager.
In 2013, he added John Abraham and Eric Winston, and last season Tommy Kelly was brought on board. All were late additions who went on to earn big roles for the team.
“There’s probably two or three players that I have my eye on right now,” Keim said, noting he will not disclose names or positions he is eyeing. “Almost every player that’s out there at this point in the season, there is a reason. Generally it’s because the player has incurred some type of injury the past year. So that, to me, is probably the best indication I can give you.”
Among the biggest names still available are linebacker Dwight Freeney, tight end Jermaine Gresham, linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. All have had success in the league, though as Keim said, there’s a reason none of them are currently on a roster. It could be that teams think they don’t have much left in the tank, or maybe it’s just a matter of timing.
“Generally guys get healthy sometime, whether it’s June or July, then we’ll have those guys come in for physicals, Michael (Bidwill), Bruce (Arians) and I will meet with them and spend some time,” Keim said, “and see if they can make a difference and chase that carrot as a one-year player and see if they can get back to playing good football again.”
Keim pointed out that it’s the best of both worlds, as the player helps the team win games while also resurrecting their career in Arizona.
“Those are all the recruiting pitches that I’ve given over the past two years that have helped us,” he said.