Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim signs an autograph before a game last season.
Steve Keim has his top running back returning this season, with David Johnson on track to recover from the wrist injury that kept him out all last season.
He has his top wide receiver returning, after Larry Fitzgerald let Steve Wilks know that news this week.
Now, the Cardinals' General Manager needs a quarterback.
"You have to have Plan A, B, C and D," Keim said Friday on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. "Whether that is a, addressing it with a free-agent quarterback, b, trade option, c, draft, or all of the above … but at the end of the day you can't get caught on (Plan) 'A' because there are factors that go into decisions by a free-agent quarterback (or) any trade process that you can't put your finger on.
"We just have to be prepared to move on to No. 2 or No. 3 and we can't get caught flat-footed if the first opportunity doesn't pan out."
Keim said this quarterback search is a little easier than when he first became GM in 2013, simply because he has gone through it before, eventually signing Drew Stanton and then trading for starter Carson Palmer.
That worked with Palmer, leading to three straight double-digit win seasons, two playoff appearances and
an NFC Championship game, but "by no means, when I look back, am I satisfied or content because we haven't won a world championship," Keim said. "That's what this is all about."
-- Fitzgerald's return might make a difference in finding QB, Keim acknowledged.
"I don't think it will per se affect the search part of it," Keim said. "Now it will affect the recruitment part of it if in fact it's through free agency. There is no doubt Larry Fitzgerald's name and his reputation carries a lot of weight.
"We will, if we go down that path, certainly use Larry and David Johnson and all the other current stars on our roster to try to make sure any potential franchise quarterback understands that this is a special place."
-- On the class of available quarterbacks overall: "From a pure numbers standpoint, that's accurate. There are some free agents out there that are worthy. When you get to the draft process, it's an inexact science. … It's purely projection.
"Whether you are taking one in the top 10 or trading up to the top 10, you better be sure you're going to
be right on that pick."
-- On the subject of high-dollar contracts, especially for potential free-agent quarterbacks: "We look at our model, and looking not only at this year from a cash and a cap standpoint but three and four years down the road, how does that affect us? Where does the cap potentially go? What other contracts are going to be up? What are the players on our team (to sign) because we want to make sure we keep the core in place.
"There are so many moving parts, you can't just say, 'OK, we're going to go out and spend 'x' amount of dollars.' (Director of Football Administration) Mike (Disner) does an unbelievable job managing our cap, he and I talk daily at length about fitting different players in. We've created a model … if we do 'x,' 'y' and 'z,' where does that leave room for?"
-- On the last time Keim spoke to the agent for Johnson, who is heading into the last year of his contract. "You'd love to know, wouldn't you?" Keim said.
"We have Larry's news this week, a lot of good news going on. We have to keep some of those teasers out there," Keim added.
-- On the subject of what has gone wrong the last couple of seasons, not reaching the playoffs: "If we ever fail, no one is ever harder on me than me." Keim noted on a personal level, he is always evaluating himself, noting in the draft process he needs to do a better job of "not ignoring the red flags."
"Maybe you need to take a player who is less talented who loves it a little more," he added.
-- On his extension this week that puts him under contract through 2022: "Aside from the stability for my children … this job isn't a paycheck for me. It's passion. Until we are able to hoist that Lombardi Trophy and see that look on Michael's (Bidwill) face, to see the community get excited about this team, my job is not done here.
"To see, in 1998, where we started and where we have come and, in my mind, where we can go."
Images of General Manager Steve Keim, who received a contract extension on Monday