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Steve Keim: After Early Season Hiccups, Stars Playing Like Stars

GM concerned about salary cap impact on 2021 roster building

After the loss to Carolina, Cardinals GM Steve Keim noted that "our stars have not played like stars."

With the Cards coming off their bye having won the three games since those comments, Keim said Friday on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station, that the team -- and those high-profile players -- have rebounded nicely.

"We're all held accountable, from Michael (Bidwill) to myself to Kliff (Kingsbury) to the players," Keim said. "It's a business. That's what it is. That's the way we have to approach it. If guys aren't getting the job done, we have to replace them. It's a tough business, it's not made for everybody. You pay players a lot of money and you have expectations. If they don't meet those expectations, you have to figure out what the next step is.

"I'm very proud of the way our guys have responded to adversity. Our guys are playing at a high level. Our stars, so to speak, are playing like stars."

-- Keim was asked about re-signing Markus Golden (who will be a free agent) and was later asked about whether there had been any talks with free-agent-to-be Patrick Peterson. Keim wouldn't get into specifics about Peterson, although he praised the veteran for playing at a high level and said he is "dialed in." Golden too would be attractive to keep, but the COVID world the NFL is in will impact rosters and salaries next season.

"It goes back to that we have a number of players who have contracts that are expiring after the season," Keim said. "The 2021 salary cap is going to play a huge role in that. We just have to make sure we make good decisions moving forward. That's part of my job, how we are going to allocate our money.

"That's what is scary about next year's cap. It's almost like, in my opinion, if it drops significantly like we think it could because of revenue, that you're going to see really, two sets of players: You're going to see stars, and guys on rookie contracts. Those guys who are on good veteran salaries, I'm a little concerned about where that may go."

-- On the return of Golden, Keim said Golden "must've thanked me 50 times" when Keim called to tell him he was coming back to Arizona. "He was pretty emotional about it."

Keim also quipped, "it's pretty interesting to use two draft picks on one guy in your lifetime."

"I love it, just because the way I look at it, he's not reading his press clippings or not reading about our success, he's got tunnel vision," Keim said. "Seattle was a huge win for us and a big step. At the same time, that's in the rear-view mirror. ... He doesn't really look at the big picture of where we are stats-wise, where his numbers are. He just wants to win."

-- A year-and-a-half into the Murray-Kingsbury era, Keim still won't call it a success. The Cardinals have yet to even reach the postseason much less win a game that time of year. But he acknowledged the decision by he and Bidwill to pair an offensive coach with a new QB (despite already having Josh Rosen) "has certainly paid its dividends and looks like it was the right decision."

-- Keim said the Cardinals never really found anyone near the trade deadline of whom they had interest, and he said the players actually being shopped were not the same players talked about in the media.

-- Keim acknowledged the Cardinals will be looking at veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who was just cut by the Titans. COVID protocols will slow any process or looksee they might take at him, Keim said, although he said Joseph can do a nice job in man coverage. "We'll see where that goes."

Masked GM Steve Keim before the home opener in 2020