Keim considers inevitable difficult decisions

Posted by Darren Urban on February 15, 2013 – 11:57 am

Are some difficult decisions coming with the roster for general manager Steve Keim?

“Absolutely,” Keim said.

In itself, that is no surprise. There are the reports the Cards are currently about $3.5 million over the salary cap (teams must be compliant by March 12) but that in itself isn’t a big deal. Contracts can easily enough be manipulated to make it work, especially that close to being OK. For instance, the Cards could work it just by, for example, releasing Kevin Kolb, because while Kolb will still count for $6 million of “dead” cap space if cut, his cap number currently is $13.5M so there would be a $7.5M savings on the cap alone. (Again, I expect the Cards to try and work out a new deal for Kolb, so if he came back, that too will clear space.)

But it’s the “tough” part of the tough decisions that Keim is considering that impacts the equation.

“Anytime you get attached to certain players it’s not only a tough decision from a business standpoint, but it’s a tough decision from a personal standpoint,” Keim said. “But you have to put personal feelings aside, and you have to do what’s best for the organization. But there are going to be some tough decisions, but at the same time, there will be some decisions we are excited about moving forward. Put young players in a position to grow and succeed.”

Keim, obviously, isn’t naming names right now. The first connect-the-dots that pops into your head when thinking about this is veteran safety Adrian Wilson, who carries a $5.4M cap number in 2013 and who himself wondered at the end of last season if his days in Arizona might be coming to an end. There is no player Keim is closer to than Wilson, after both attended North Carolina State and Keim was the one who scouted and pushed for Wilson in the 2001 draft.

As of now, the Cardinals have 10 players scheduled to have salary cap numbers in 2013 of at least $5M: Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald ($10.3), Calais Campbell ($8.8), Darnell Dockett ($7.7), Daryn Colledge ($7.3), Stewart Bradley ($6.5), Levi Brown ($6.4), Kerry Rhodes ($6.0), Wilson and Daryl Washington ($5.4). There are a host of moves any team can make, including extensions — for instance, with Rhodes, who is down to the final year of his deal — that can lower the cap number too.

But this is about more than just money and cap space. It factors in a new coaching staff, a new general manager, a team that went 5-11 and the reality rosters sometimes are purged in such a transition.

“Anytime you are in a position where you are dealing with the salary cap, you have some tough challenges financially, but at the same time, starting with (president) Michael Bidwill giving us the opportunity to do what is necessary to win, we won’t make decisions solely based on finances,” Keim said.  “Now, what is hard in this business is that you have players making quite a bit of money and their production level doesn’t match their financial package.

“Those are the decisions where we’ll weigh the pros and the cons and make the tough decisions based on what are we getting out of this player. Does he schematically fit what we do? Are his finances in line for what we are getting from him?”


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44 Responses to “Keim considers inevitable difficult decisions”

  1. By Dick F. on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Unless I am totally wrong, this team is very close to being a strong contender. Hopefully we can plug the few holes where needed. The Offense may improve by itself with all the changes in Offensive Coaching Staff & play calling. I for one think that Kolb can be a gr8 QB if given a real chance behind a line that can give him some time without eating so much dirt.

  2. By Patrick Eagan on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    it will be interesting to see what happens

  3. By Adam on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Not sure why we would even consider releasing one of the greatest Cards to put on a jersey in Adrian Wilson. To me first restructure or release Kolb, then release Bradley who only plays special teams, then restructure or release Snyder who was among the worst guards in the NFL last year. Snyder is a overhyped guard who’s previous success was due to his supporting o line. Also I’m curious why we not only brought back Levi Brown but also agreed to pay a man 6.4 million, that prior was ranked statistically the worst LT in the NFL. I would try and get at least one more if not two more years out of Wilson.

  4. By Tom on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    What I would do with all of the players above that $5 mil number:

    Keep unchanged:
    Fitzgerald, Washington, Campbell


    Attempt to redo contract. If can’t, try to replace & trade/release, keep if necessary:
    Dockett, Wilson, Brown

    Redo or release, period:
    Kolb, Bradley, Colledge

    Dockett at this point isn’t worth his contract, so either redo his deal or look to trade him for something. A-Dub and Levi are worth keeping around at a reduced price – A-Dub for his situational play and leadership, Levi because you can’t have enough decent OTs – but if you can’t redo them, try to replace them and move on. If you can’t replace them, though, I think you may have to keep them because of the lack of quality depth at those positions.

    Kolb, Bradley, and Colledge just simply have to redo or be cut. None are playing well enough to be worth their figure and aren’t critical enough to consider keeping around at their current contract.

  5. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    And once again I ask:
    Wilson, Colledge, Fitz and Bradley have restructured and Kolb most certainly will also.

    Has Darnell Dockett ever done this?
    In most instances, it benefits not only the team but the individual. Why the resistance?

  6. By D on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Clearly the money doesn’t match the production in-regards to Adub, Bradley and Kolb and Synder. The problem is they don’t have their replacements on the roster because of many reasons, mainly misses on prior drafts.

    Being a season ticket holder I don’t want to hear this, but this team is no where close in terms of winning the division from SF or Seattle, I would get as many draft picks as possible and expect it to take 2 years….

  7. By Dynosoar on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Keep Wilson, extend and restructure Rhodes and Levi Brown.

    Actually, I like what heard from this interview. Keim is hitting the ground running and it sounds like the coaches are as well. if the players do the same, watch for them to be not only playof contenders, but playing for a SB spot.

    Ahhh, Kevin Kolb. There’s the 7.5 million dollar question. What would it take to get any of our current QB’s to break the 60% completion playoff QB’s have? If we get better at O-Line and playcalling, will they perform better? Looking forward to the season to find out. Looking forward.

  8. By louie on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    If need be I’ll come give Kolb (thanks for nothing) his walking papers…along with Colledge, Dan Williams (never should have gone in the first round), Lindley (cant throw over 10 yards and in 5 games not one TD pass, has to be a record), Skelton thier papers…Try to fix Wilson’s contract, but dont just release him…Say ty and goodbye to Lenon, Bradley, Doucet and Holliday…

  9. By djjackson81 on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Restructure list
    Any of them refuse then walk them….
    Release list…

  10. By Scott H on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Well, just being simple – and in my humble opinion – two salaries that should be eliminated right off the bat are those for Kevin Kolb and ( especially ) Stewart Bradley. I already touched on Kolb elsewhere but to repeat, I think Kolb should either be back here at a GREATLY reduced salary number or he should be gone altogether. They probably take a hit against the cap either way ( ??? ) but it seems inevitable that they will be going in one of these directions or the other. Either way, cap relief is provided. And I say, do whatever provides the most relief possible. I cannot look at Kolb as a significant loss at this point. Can’t keep counting on a guy who can’t play a whole season, or even close to it for that matter.

    And Bradley should be a no-brainer. It’s a shame this guy has had his career de-railed by injuries, but…he’s been here two years and the injuries have barely allowed him to get on the field at all. Time to move on and use whatever cap relief we can get from him elsewhere.

    Beyond that, the issues on this list are more difficult. Is Colledge REALLY worth a $7.3 million cap hit??? Doesn’t seem like it, but….players counting against the cap for more than they appear to be worth at any gievn time is just a reality in the NFL.. Every team has guys like that every year.

    Then there is Wilson…oh, boy. I cannot even imagine the Cardinals without him wearing # 24 because it feels like there was never a time when he wasn’t here, ya know? One of my VERY favorite Cardinals of all time. I hope he is back in 2013. If the team needs him to, I hope he will be receptive to a reduced number. If the team needs him to and he is not receptive to that, wants to keep playing, and goes eleswhere, I would never hold that against him. Whether or not I would hold it against the team….who knows?

    Don’t know if charges could be made anywhere else on this list. I’m not sure Dockett has truly been worth his money the past two seasons, but…it’s not like they are gonna release him or ask him to take a cut. Not at this point.

  11. By Chuck 1 on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply


  12. By Chuck 1 on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply


    I love you like a brother; however a SB is at least two years in the future.

  13. By Sean on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    I was rooting for Kolb all last offseason. Then the preseason happened, and I really wondered how I could have been so wrong. Then after that, he gets a touchdown and puts the game into the hands of the defense. And the team was 4-0.. Then Kolb had an off day with accuracy (arm probably hurting from the lack of protection in the Dolphins game) and ended up 4-1..

    On a positive note, he did fix his fumbling problem. He scored 9 TDs in 5 games. Or if looking at playing time, nearly 2 TDs per game.

    Keim track record with scouting is great. if Kolb goes, its because Kiem knows how to evaluate talent.

  14. By Jerrytown on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    For everyone who thinks we should get rid of Kolb….what better options are out there? Matt Moore? Alex Smith? Give me a break. There really isn’t another QB out there who is worth cutting Kolb for. The only two glaringly overpaid guys I see on that list are Stewart Bradley and Darren Colledge. I would restructure Colledge’s contract and cut Bradley if it makes sense. Kolb will restructure, we’ll probably extend Rhodes. Wilson is the type of guy who will either restructure again or retire, he’s a Card for life. I’d probably bail on Adam Snyder and draft some young blood, Kelemete showed promise toward the end of the year too. A few of those moves are simple no brainers that make us cap compliant by the deadline and give Keim time to make the tough decisions, like what to do with Wilson. But you keep Kolb, that’s also a no brainer.

  15. By DuaneS on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    I agree on Wilson….after Fitz, AW is the face of the franchise.

    I’d attempt to restructure Colledge..hard worker, and arguably the best of the OL the last two years…I think we’ll be bringing back Sendlein, Potter and Massie. If we take a LT in the 1st round that frees up Levi to right guard where he would be a beast. Anyone remember Leonard “Big” Davis? We tried to make a natural guard into a tackle….I think the same can be said of Levi.

    Kolb really has to restructure….no question
    Dockett, heck with him being assured that we are going to a scheme that will let him be a terror again…keep him, he’s pumped up.
    Not sure about Bradly, was all set to cut him, but then remembered our new DC was his coach in Philly when he had success….

    Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents worth…. don’t worry about giving me change.

  16. By DB on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Alex Smith is not an option because the 49ers are determined he will not end up in Arizona. There must be a good reason they feel that way. You can diismiss him with a “give me a break”, but his recent performance compared to Kolb makes him look like Dan Marino.

    I understand Harbaugh gets all the credit for Smith’s turnaround, but Harbaugh hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL in 15 years. Smith has proved with a good system he can win big. Kolb hasn’t proved much at all.

  17. By Campbells on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Fisher makes Levi expendable, and maybe 1-or 2-others.
    Cut Bradley
    Wilson is in his twilight. He’ll negotiate.
    Renegotiate Kolb, or kick him to the curb
    Cut Doucet
    Cut King
    Cut Gay
    Cut Fleming
    Cut Holliday
    Trade LSH
    Cut Beanie
    Cut Williams
    Pick-up Mendenhall if possible
    Glennon makes Lindley and Skelton expendable
    Cut Javarris James
    Cut Housler
    Cut Dray

  18. By LDubya on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Since Dockett protested so many years for a new contract due to him “out-playing” his contract, I say it’s fair to lower his pay to match his current production.

    Here is what the Cards should do:

    Bradley / Snyder

    Kolb / A-dub (even entertain him as a pass rush specialist) / Colledge

    Trade –
    Dockett / Rhodes

    Dockett and Rhodes should be able to fetch us a couple 3rd rounder’s and from there we can sign a FA FS and draft a new RE that fits the 3-4 better. Dockett’s time has passed and now he is more trouble than he worth (twitter drama to amongst other things).

    Rhodes still has some value but is on the down side of his career, it’s a sellers market for him. I throw the bank at Goldson and see if we can pry him away from the Whiners. If not Landry or Delmas would work.

    I go after DRC and Avril to wrap up Free Agency and draft O-lineman , RB and QB.

    This is how we return to the Super Bowl.

  19. By Eric Randall on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Release Colledge, Bradley, Snyder, Wells and R. Williams..

    Restructure Kolbs, Wilsons, Browns contracts.

    Make L. Brown right guard and draft Chance Warmack 7th overall for left guard. Draft a pair of durable running backs in rest of draft.


  20. By Raymond Patrick on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Restructure Kolb, Fitz, Dockett

    Release Wells, Skelton, Rhodes, Gay

    Got to keep WILSON

  21. By chad on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    The only problem with cutting is that number is still against the cap. We can speed it out over a few years.

    I would give someone a 6th round pick just to take bradley. saving 6.5
    Try and restructure Snyder, Kolb and Docket, not sure they will go for it.
    restructure Rhodes/Wilson to 3 year deals at 4 mil. a year saving 4.5

    We can then sign Andre Smith who has developed into one of the league’s premier right tackles, who is a free again. He was a dominant run-blocker and also excelled in pass protection. Signing him to 6.5 million saved from Bradley. He deserves the money based on how he’s played.

  22. By chad on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    We could give Kolb insensitive to restructure to 7 million. telling him he can eaarn what he makes now off playing bonuses and tell him how we plan to protect him better.

    Trade College for a 6th round pick saving us 7.3 million
    give that 6th rounder to someone to take Bradley saving 6.5 million
    restructure Rhodes/Wilson to 3 year deals at 4 mil. a year saving 4.5 a year

    Get LT Ryan Clady for 7 million a year
    Get RT Andry Smith for 7 Million a year
    Put Levi at LG
    Put Massie at RG

    Draft OLB/DE in first round

  23. By Eric Randall on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Build the line around Chance Warmack and Levi Brown.

    Putting L. Brown in as Right Guard and Warmack as left guard will give the cardinals the best pass protection and run game that theyve ever had. Keep Massie as right tackle and N. Potter as left tackle……………

    A quarterback is NOT needed in draft. The new coaches will get Kolb and Skelton the coaching that they need. The enhanced line with Warmack will give the QB protection and allow for a run game.

    Dont be stupid and reach for a QB in this draft. None of them are day 1 starters. Makes absolutely no sense. None of the QBs in this draft are any better than what we already have on roster.

  24. By Eric Randall on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    If the Cardinals CUT Colledge, Snyder, Bradley, Wells, Williams, and restructure Kolb, L. Brown, A. Wilson and Fitz the team should have plenty of cap space.

  25. By clssylssy on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Up to this point Keim has been an assistant, a student (hopefully), and is a novice to the role of GM, so I hope he is not “cut loose” on his own but rather has a lot of help from the numberous “YODAS” now on our staff, who do have the experience, the knowledge and wisdom to navigate these very critical waters. There are a group of GM “MVPs” out there who have discovered the formula for successfully crunching numbers, renegotiating contratcs and working under the Cap, who, work very closely with the HC, owner and other coaching staff in concert to put together teams who repeatedly make the playoffs–the Ozzie Newsoms, Bill Billichecks,Ted Thompsons, Mickey Loomisses I hope Keim and Company realize he is a novice at this, despite his experience as an assistant; and he has not yet arrived in the company of heavy hitters. I hope he will utilize fully the vast resources he has with grace and humility. . We are moving into a most exciting time of year and with the staff the Cards have assembled there is no reason why this should be a difficult task. The wild card in deciding who stays and who goes comes in the form of players popularity with the fans since the fans ARE the ones paying for tickets, buyiing merchandise etc, This is a slippery slope, especially now when the organization has undergone seemingly sweeping changes; never a good time to kill a golden goose in the way of revenue when clearly needed. I love watching good GMs work their magic and become offseason MVPs as they are fundamental to whether or not their team will be playoff bound. Good Luck Cardinals….the Offseason Games are about to Begin!

  26. By philly cards on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Cut bradley collge and rhodes. That’s 20 million alone. All issues solved

    Mess with kolb or Aw you create a new problem. If u fired a coach for strategy and poor decisions it can be also the 4-1 quarter back who was hit too much. They never adjusted to blitz fronts. And kerry rhodes no way. Add toler doucet and trade number 12 for another 5th rd.

  27. By eric on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    hope we can keep adrian wilson.
    personaly,i would release stewart bradley or kerry rhodes long before a-dub.

    is dockett worth what he is making?????…….keep a-dub and redo docketts deal.

  28. By Eric Randall on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    2013 DRAFT.

    Round 1–Chance Warmack left guard
    Round 2–Tyler Eifert tight end
    Round 3–Montee Ball running back
    Round 4–Brandon Jenkins OLB
    Round 5–Andre Ellington running back
    Round 6–Travins Long OLB
    Round 7–Quanterus Smith OLB

  29. By Eric Randall on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    oops forgot Cardinals have two 6th round picks and no 7th I believe…

  30. By cobra on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply


    How can you cut 12 players when you only have about 7 draft picks? We are already 3.5 million over the cap. I’m not sure their is many FAs out there in the budget to fill the holes. It takes time.

  31. By Credit Card on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Is it possible to cut ownership? Our real problem

  32. By BAn on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Just get rid of Klb already dont even mess with the defense at all , restr… Colledge ,bradly…. be nice to get Alex Smith but the WINERS dont want that ….I have to again say this a part time QB wont make playoffs Kolb wether good or not gets hurt too much way way too much too risky to keep him….

  33. By clssylssy on Feb 17, 2013 | Reply

    I would like to see us go after Nick Foles. There is a reason Andy Reid wants him in KC and while I am not a big fan of Andy’s, I do respect his knowledge and experience building teams. No way the 9ers would ever let us get Alex Smith. Everyone has dismissed Arizona as any kind of a threat, but if we are smart managers we could emerge as a “sleeper” threat in the next year or so. Just hope our staff of Jedi Masters will use their combined experience and wisdom to do some creative number crunching and cagey horse trading in the upcoming FA and Draft. Get R’ Done!

  34. By SLP4u2nv on Feb 17, 2013 | Reply

    Re: Snyder

    Before everyone gets too excited about dumping Adam Snyder, keep in mind that releasing him would not alleviate any cap room. His cap hit $4M this year, but the team would take a $4M hit if he were released. So, there’s literally zero cap space benefit to releasing him. I’m not arguing that he should play – I’m just saying that releasing him doesn’t really do any good.

    Now, Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb on the other hand…

  35. By SLP4u2nv on Feb 17, 2013 | Reply

    Gotta remember the “dead money” everyone. Just because someone’s scheduled to earn a certain amount, doesn’t mean cutting that person would “save” that same amount. For example, Kolb is scheduled to make $13.5M. Cutting him, however, would only save $7.5M because he’s currently carrying $6M in dead money.

    Many are calling for Levi, Colledge, and Snyder to go, but their dead money this year is way too high to see any real savings by letting them go. I wasn’t happy with their play either, but they’re not going anywhere.

    Regardless of whether you like these guys or not, here are players who could save us the most cap space by being released:

    Kolb – $7.5M in savings
    Rhodes – $5.5M (will likely restructure)
    Bradley – $3.5M in savings
    Gay – $3.35M in savings
    Wilson – $3M in savings
    Doucet – $2M in savings

    None of the other big contracts will be released. Restructured, maybe. But released, no. So forget about Fitz, Dockett, Levi, Colledge, Snyder, etc. The only guys who are in danger are the ones listed above.

  36. By Scott H on Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    Jerrytown –

    Keeping Kolb – a QB who has barely played a full season’s worth of games over the last THREE seasons – is a no brainer???? OK…geez, I guess your definition of a no brainer is a little different than mine. Don’t know what more evidence you could possibly need to prove that Kolb cannot be counted on. You might be basing your statements on what you believe Kolb COULD be – and I might not disgaree with you – but Kolb is no different than any other QB now or ever in that he cnnot win games from the sidelines, which is where he has spent significant time over the past 3 seasons. How many more seasons of that do you endure before you realize it just ain’t there?

    LDubya –

    DRC? Seriously? Just let it go, man. The guy is a fraud. Which is probably why the Eagles announced today that they will not use the franchise tag on him. All I can say about DRC at this point is that he has been SOOOOO bad in Philly over the past 2 years, that it makes the Kolb trade seem kinda like a wash. Maybe we didn’t get what we hoped we were getting with Kolb but BELIEVE ME when I tell ya that the Eagles didn’t get what they were hoping for with DRC, either! What we want with him at this point is completely beyond me. A completely average cover CB who avoids tackling like the plague? Yeah, sign him up…he’a all that stands between us and a Super Bowl, right? Gimme a break. I truly believe that the Cardinals were willing to let him go in the trade for Kolb because they believed he was exactly what he has been in Philly – nothing special.

  37. By Credit Card on Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    Given the contracts and the quality of players the Cards received via trades from Philly (Kolb and Bradley); I would hope the Cards never do business with Philly again. It is kind of like trading a baseball player with the Oakland A’s. The A’s just always seem to get the better part of the deal.

  38. By DTB87 on Feb 19, 2013 | Reply

    Didn’t Colledge make the pro bowl?

  39. By John Holt on Feb 19, 2013 | Reply

    There is only ONE way our team can compete in this division no matter who we acquire or cut. That is to get a QB that can compete with those in Seattle and SF as he is about 60% of any offense. I have no idea who it could be but at some point if we try hard enough and have smart guys up top we will get one. It does not seem it will be this year.

  40. By Scott H on Feb 19, 2013 | Reply

    Damn…looking at this picture, I STILL say this guy should be putting on a uniform and playing on our offensive line instead of wearing a suit and sitting up in the front office. Man, he looks like a nasty dude….make that a BIG nasty dude!

  41. By Eazy E on Feb 19, 2013 | Reply

    Cut Kolb, Cut Colledge, Cut Bradley and Levi and that should free up so much space. Everybody else is good. I don’t even know why it’s a damn ? as to why we may keep A-Wil or not?? He deserves his money because he still is an elite safety and db overall. Offense was trash last year and our D balled and our secondary was a HUGE part of that.

  42. By Rick Coppinger on Feb 21, 2013 | Reply

    Levi Brown can be let go, just look back and see that he did nothing. If you need help let me know. Put Wilson as LB great player but getting to slow as a safety. He can get to the QB when up front.

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