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Steve Keim: Swag, Intensity Sets DeAndre Hopkins Apart

GM expects big year from Patrick Peterson

The Cardinals and GM Steve Keim see wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins as a player in his prime, so giving him a contract extension he had been seeking -- ultimately, an upgrade to his deal, to make sure Hopkins would be around long-term -- made sense to the organization.

"Aside from the things he does on the field, the swag and intensity that he brings to our locker room to me is really what sets him apart," Keim said Friday on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station.

Keim did say it was an interesting process because Hopkins acted as his own agent and did almost all the negotiations himself.

"I said, 'DeAndre, there are going to be some things we disagree on, and that's the way negotiations go,' " Keim said. "He's a smart young man. He gets it. ... He doesn't want to play on a football team without guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and Kenyan Drake. He wants to be surrounded by talent."

That meant coming to an agreement that satisfied Hopkins' needs for an upgrade but still gave the Cardinals a place to be flexible in the roster. Keim feels that happened.

"There were some tense moments, some times when we agreed to disagree but at the same time, it never got personal," Keim said.

Working as your own agent, "it's uncomfortable when you sit and talk about your own worth," Keim noted, which is why agents are often used. But Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, who also has negotiated his own deals since the passing of his agent, Eugene Parker, "I'm amazed with the details they come up with, because they are businessmen," Keim said.

-- The fact Patrick Peterson and the team have not engaged in contract extension discussions has nothing to do with Peterson's troubled 2019 season, Keim said, although he reiterated he doesn't get into contract situations publicly. If Peterson has the kind of year Keim is expecting, his price will be lofty.

"I expect Pat to have a huge year," Keim said. "He has come back with a fire in his eye second to none."

Keim also said he thinks veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is an "under-the-radar signing" that will help what he already feels like is a good secondary.

-- Keim said he was happy that former Cardinals running back David Johnson had success in Thursday night's season opener, saying it was "vintage David Johnson" on the touchdown Johnson scored.

"I love David Johnson," Keim said, noting how good of a person Johnson is and how you naturally bond with the players you draft. "I know he has that talent and ability in him."

-- Keim said he has monitored closely the air quality in the Bay Area with all the fires and how it could impact Sunday's game. He spoke to the league Friday morning and has had conversations with 49ers GM John Lynch. It's a fluid situation, Keim said, and the NFL will make the final decision if the air worsens, but right now, the game looks like it will happen as scheduled.

-- The weapons on offense can only open things up for the Cardinals, Keim said. "It's going to be fun to see how Kliff uses all of them."

GM Steve Keim before the 2019 regular season opener