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Steve Keim Talks Splash, Quarterback

Posted Feb 17, 2017

Cardinals General Manager trying to balance "win-now" and sustaining for future

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim talks with cornerback Patrick Peterson before a game last season.

During the Cardinals’ free-agent meetings this week, one of the team’s scouts asked Steve Keim if the General Manager would consider a particular position when it came time to sign players March 9.

Keim’s answer was succinct.

“There isn’t any position, if we feel we can significantly upgrade that spot, that we won’t either draft a player or sign a player in free agency,” Keim recounted Friday during an appearance on Arizona Sports. “You can have a solid offense and defense, but depth is, to me, where you can really make a difference in the NFL.”

Keim covered a number of topics in the interview, which was short on specifics – he didn’t address any of the team’s potential free agents, other than to reiterate linebacker Chandler Jones would indeed get the franchise tag if the Cardinals could not get a long-term contract worked out – but explained philosophy.

-- On the potential of drafting a franchise quarterback as Carson Palmer’s eventual replacement: “There isn’t a day when I don’t think about it,” Keim said. “To put this organization in a position to have successs for a long time, there is no doubt we need to identify a franchise quarterback.

“That’s easier said than done. Very few exist. There are probably seven great quarterbacks, 10 (guys) you can win with in the NFL, and then everyone else is playing musical chairs. We have to challenge ourselves to find the next guy.”

-- On the notion the Cardinals will make a “splash” move in free agency: “I don’t know what you would consider ‘splash,’ but we’ll certainly be aggressive and keep our foot on the gas pedal, try to keep pushing this thing in the right direction,” Keim said. “There’s no doubt we took a step back last year. We’ve got to pick up the pieces and make some good decisions this offseason.”

-- On balancing a win-now mentality versus thinking about the future: “It’s a tough double-edged sword for me,” Keim said. “There are guys like Carson and Larry (Fitzgerald) where you know the end is sooner rather than later. So you have to try and build around them and, so to speak, go for it now.

“But that’s our mindset every year. We’re never in a rebuilding phase. To me, you owe it to your fanbase to go for it every year, to be aggressive either in free agency or the draft. But you also have to keep in mind that you are going to do the right thing for the organization for the long-term. That’s the biggest challenge.”

Keim did say he doesn’t necessarily think the Cardinals are down to a one-year potential Super Bowl window because “you never know what’s going to happen.”

-- On the Cardinals’ 2016 special-teams woes: “Wasn’t good enough. I don’t think there is any secret to that, starting with (president) Michael Bidwill, myself, Bruce Arians or (special teams coordinator) Amos Jones. It was not good enough, it was unacceptable and there is no doubt that has to change. … I can promise you, you’ll see a significant difference in our special teams this year.”

The Cardinals wrapped up their free-agent meetings this week. Free agency begins March 9. Now, Keim said he was catching up on watching college tape. The Cardinals will attend the Scouting combine in about 10 days.

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