Keim with an eye on 2015

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2013 – 3:40 pm

The Cardinals have a three-year outlook for their roster, the prism in which the front office and General Manager Steve Keim views the team. That’s how they look at the salary cap, and how they evaluate contracts.

Not surprisingly, the sorting of big contracts that occurred this past offseason, contracts that were put in place before he became GM, will happen again after this season. And Keim thinks the Cards are still an offseason away from being able to get where the Cards want to be.

“There are going to be some tough decisions to be made after the season based on the numbers, just looking at the three-year view,” Keim said on a special edition of the Cardinals Underground podcast. “We will obviously have to make some tough decisions like we did this past year after the season. The one thing fans and other people don’t realize (is) there are certain contracts that bind you and you can’t do anything (with) and you have the dead money factor.

“Once we get to 2015 I feel really good where we are going to be from a salary-cap standpoint.”

Keim made tough decisions this past offseason, jettisoning Adrian Wilson, among many others. He didn’t name names. But the contracts that will likely be under the microscope aren’t hard to narrow down. Big money is owed to offensive linemen Daryn Colledge (with Earl Watford, Nate Potter and Paul Fanaika as cheaper options) and Levi Brown. Darnell Dockett is due a lot of money, although he just had a big three-sack game and dominated. Patrick Peterson is in line for an expensive extension. Larry Fitzgerald and his $18 million salary cap number might have to be reworked. None of this means the Cards have to cut people, but guys might be asked to take pay cuts. There are minefields to maneuver for Keim, and he acknowledged, the Cards are “handicapped to a degree.”

Philosophy-wise, it dovetails with Keim’s thoughts anyway. “I’ve always felt it was more important to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late, because when players get to a certain point in his career and he starts to decline it can have a negative effect on your football team.”

(There’s Keim below, talking to Tyrann Mathieu’s parents before the Saints game. I feel confident Mathieu will not be going anywhere next year.)

The full Cardinals Underground podcast is posted right here.


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28 Responses to “Keim with an eye on 2015”

  1. By SteveG on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Took one whole draft to realise this guy knows of what he speaks….

    2015 huh?..I will be here….

  2. By ored on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    much will be about the progress of young players and how much did the vets contribute and if they still have gas in the tank,we’ll know more at seasons end,just so much depends on the front line…offense,they need to allow the playmakers room to do their thing…defense,they need to blow up plays so we get turnovers and 3 n outs…special teams need to give us field position advantage and be a wild card.

    imo,we need to give the playmakers the opportunity to make big plays,ala the warner to fitz connection,he did’nt always throw the perfect pass,but larry took what he considered his,it’s disheartening watching him and floyd making ordinary plays that anyone can make,give them shots to take what is theirs,jump balls,i mean the ordinary stuff is ok,but it’s the spectacular that make larry what he is,just the stuff he practices should tell you he wants to be tested and is up for it,i would rather see him outjump for two tds and only get 40 yrds.than catch 10 for a buck twenty on vanilla catches and no scores.i know he always draws attention in the red zone,so what,just give him a 50-50 shot to get his hands on the ball,i’ll put my money on him everytime,he does’nt need much of an edge,just knowing before anyone else the target zone,even if it’s already crowded allows him to time and adjust his just seems that as poorly as we’re doing on 3rd downs and in the red zone,we can’t do any worse than throw up a prayer and let him and floyd do one of 3 things,make the catch,draw the penalty,or knock it down.

  3. By Rich on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Keim is a Pro.

  4. By carlo milano on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Fitz also has to redo his contract, i dont know why they make him a so big contract with qb number.
    No one team could offer him that amount of money.
    Hope is humble to take a pay cut

  5. By Chris B on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    A perfect example of this is the Seahawks. Pete took over in 2010 and now, 3 years later, they are built for long term success. It makes sense to me.

  6. By Michael on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    I think it’s time to part with Dockett.
    His big performance would be mostly due to him facing a rookie LT.
    He has not been consistent enough to warrant his current cap hit or a contract extension. He’s been an integral part of the franchise but unfortunately he looks like he’s in the twilight of his career.
    RE might be a good position to address in the upcoming draft, we badly need pass rush help.

  7. By Capital Card on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Hard decisions means Fitz will probably be playing elsewhere in 2014. He doesn’t have to agree to a pay cut, meaning the Cards will be forced to cut him, leaving him to pick his landing spot in 2014, just like Peyton Manning did last year.

    If Keim can convince him to stay, with no solution to our long term struggle in finding a QB, LT, and TE, then he’ll be the greatest salesman/GM in Cardinal history.

    I just don’t see it happening though. Fitz, to me, looks beat down from 3, going on 4 years of losing. I think this is his last year here.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  8. By Dre on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Cap card I think the same why not get something in return for fitz. Why not he a great player not 18 mil worth would I be sad yeah. Either he not moving or playing like he used to or there not using him right or the wrong offenses. Def get rid of brown draft a rookie or pay for the best player available. Dd can’t get rid of him he been playing out of position for the last 6 to 8 years and the beat of a the d.

  9. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Getting rid of a player a year too early than a year too late has Dockett’s name written all over it. Releasing Colledge and Levi Brown are no-brainers.

    Seahawks are built to win now, which means salary cap issues are imminent. Good thing they got Russell Wilson so cheaply by drafting him in the third round. If the Seahawks can’t make the Super Bowl in the next year or two with Wilson still under his rookie contract and all those first round picks they’ve in recent years because they’ve stunk so bad for so long, then the cap is going to rip the team apart in short order. Extending Wilson will take up a good chunk of change and will begin to limit their choices in free agency. No more Percy Harvin or Cliff Arvil-like signings then.

  10. By Chuck 1 on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Re: Chris B’s post about the Seahawks.

    I read recently that the ‘hawk’s roster churned to the tune of over 200 players after Carrol took over.

    As Keim said, It will take the Cards until 2015 to assemble the roster to challenge for the NFC West championship.

  11. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    Capital Card –

    Way too early in the season to think Fitz is done here. He’ll get his numbers this year as long as his hammy issue doesn’t progress — and as long as the O-Line improves which is a big question mark, obviously.

  12. By BluePitt on Sep 24, 2013 | Reply

    @Michael, Why don’t you include Fitz in that equation? He is in the Twilight of his career as well. Funny how last year Dock took all the double teams as Horton asked got no glory for it, and 3 games in to this season he sucks? But the has the most sacks on our team? I don’t care if it was VS a Rook… Have you taken a look at his pursuit? It is relentless he doesn’t Quit chasing down the ball! You can not say the same for any of our other D line men! look at the tape! Every play Dock is still going till the whistle, not taking a play off!

  13. By 2 Cents on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    DOCKETT has been unproductive for the last three yrs. No excuses!!!

  14. By rdixon50 on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    My wife, a casual fan, and I discussed Fitz’ big contract and that he’ll have to renegotiate it next summer to stay here. She said he’d go to his home are, Minnesota. Hope she is wrong.

  15. By mrpeary3189 on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    It’s a good thing that Fitz is a team first kinda guy. I don’t see him taking a pay cut being an issue.

  16. By georgiebird on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    Continuing with a linebacker centered 3-4 defense was a mistake. Larry’s contract is a mistake.
    The team is going nowhere this year and probably next year. Time to bite the bullet.
    1) Go to a 4-3 defense
    2) trade Larry and improve our chances for a franchise QB

  17. By clssylssy on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    Fitz would be a fool to redo his contract and stay with this team, watching his career circle the bowl. Small minded people newbie “fans” don’t recognize everything he has done for this team and he could go anywhere and get paid and probably have more of a shot at a ring than here. I think it reveals the greed of this organization and moral bankruptcy of the front office, to enter into a contract with a player who gives everything on the field and off, only to be knifed in the back when it’s time to get paid…which is exactly why you see more of these mega contracts being structured with more money being paid up front rather than back loaded.Hope that the young players like Peterson and Mathieu are taking notes and realize that it could be their turn next, this organization has a pattern and a reputation for being CHEAP! Keim talks out of both sides of his mouth when he says he “makes the tough decisions” to unload proven players as their productivity drops off with age and then goes out and signs a bunch of castoffs from other teams for one year contracts who have already been determined to be “high risk” because of previous injury/age (his signings older even than those “jettisoned”), as a result we have them on IR after three games! This is his grand plan for the future? Thanks to Keim we lost our DC and our defense, our 0-line was not fixed and two of our draft picks never saw the opening season, one because of pre-existing injuries from college which with some research and indepth evaluation would have been obvious…sorry, if I’m completely unimpressed so far! The decision to stay on the East Coast and practice this week didn’t work out in the past and according to Paul Calivisi, is going to cost the Cards another humuliating loss as players are more rested and productive in their own surroundings, being creatures of habit. I’ve been a Card fan for twenty years and my family still has season tickets at Arrowhead (going on forty years) so I’ve watched up close as this organization has gone through GMs, Coaching staffs, players but never really sustaining any success because of a flawed infatructure that is insecure and lacking in any consistency. Franchises who win titles year-after-year have developed a business formula and don’t “jettison” proven coaches at the first sign of unrest among the fans. Also, it is annoying that Keim is so disrespectful of the fans in the valley, decrying them as having “no understanding” of how finance works or big business operates when there are probably more multimillionaires percapita in the Phoenix area who are either business owners or retirees from Fortune 500 Companies than many other football franchise cities. When the Keim/Arians regime came into power, they talked big about getting this team to the playoffs THIS YEAR, also fixing the 0-line, etc. Now comes the back peddling and the “three year out plan”…LOL! The fact is at this time last year we were 3-0 with fewer major injuries rather than 1-2 and scraping for replacements. Sorry, but I’ve seen this show before and judging by the work of other GMs around the league, Mr. Keim will never be a Ozzie Newsom or a Mickey Loomis and the Cards will continue being the same ole Cards; good guys, loveable, but kinda like watching a train wreck! (And not the fault of the players and coaches)

  18. By Coach K on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    Alameda Ta’amu is playing like a pro bowler and dominating the line of scrimmage. I look for Ta’amu to continue to be a force against Tampa. He sure helped Dockett by drawing double teams on every play.

  19. By Chuck 1 on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply


    You’re just like so many fans who want instant gratification after a 5-11 season.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    Try 2015.

  20. By BluePitt on Sep 25, 2013 | Reply

    @2 Cents,
    The year before last Dock had 5 sacks 2nd most on our team behind Campbell with 6??? What are you talking about?

  21. By Matt Whetstine on Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Dockett needs to be traded to a team that runs the 4-3 primarily. He’s a 4-3 DT and has always been that. If we get rid of Levi Brown, we’ll have to pick up 2 left tackles though we may have to anyways. Colledge is getting old so replacing him would be a wise move.

  22. By clssylssy on Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Instant gratification? ROFL! I’ve CHOSEN to be a fan of this team and supported it since 1995 and was raised on football. I’ve seen this show before, it is classic Cardinals… they don’ know that this is how the NFL goes for the majority of teams and having a 5-11 year isn’t any reason to panic and totally abandon the good things in place. We were getting on track, had made it to the SB and playoffs, were even starting to gain some respect from national media before being decimated by injuries(uncontrollable as the new miracle workers are discovering) Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water all we needed to do was change the stink’n think’n in the front office and dump the GM..perhaps bring in a fresh perspective with proven talent from outside, one of the rising stars…would have been money well spent. Look around, our former players are now finding success with other teams as are our coaches, apparently they had more talent/knowledge than they were credited for!
    I was content to take a wait and see attitude with this new group but I’m still waiting to see all those things happen that were the political platform promised to the fans when the propoganda wagon rolled out..(As the famous movie line goes, “Don’t write checks with your mouth, your body can’t cash” ) It’s good to be excited about your product but sometimes humility goes a long way and the front office needs to be able to get that across while at the same time offering encouragement and hope. This IS a talented group of young players and I have always been proud of the family oriented, respectful venue at a Cardinal game even when we were at Sun Devil. However, when you’re not winning games (and winning isn’t as important as sportsmanship and integrity to many old timers like me) seeing your favorite player like Fitz perform is what keeps people coming back and watching. Many of these veteran players have a loyalty to this team and to the fans but it doesn’t seem to be reciprocated by the ownership or whoever is whispering in his ear, which I find especially disturbing on ethical level. To sign a contract is with the intent of abiding by it’s terms and to try to weasal out for no cause really other than to better one’s financial position screams moral bankruptcy and ineptitude as a manager. Sorry, but I will continue to hold the puppetmasters accountable as I also know how the decision heirachy works. Still a fan but didn’t just fall off the turnip wagon either:) GO CARDS!

  23. By ored on Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    3 whole games is not a wait and see attitude especially with all the changes made,perhaps some patience and lets see how the season progresses.i don’t think anybody commenting on this site knows larry or any other players future,still way too much football to be played before all the behind the scenes stuff the meantime,you have duckets…enjoy the games.

  24. By Kevin S on Sep 27, 2013 | Reply

    Cmon Clssylssy — It is pretty pointless to bring up the fact that we were 3-0 after 3 games last year considering where we ended up. We should be 2-1, but we couldn’t hold a lead in the Rams game. We’ve been beset with injuries… we lost our #1 pick who was supposed to be a force in our weakest area, and now we have OLB’s dropping like flies. Don’t know where we’re going to end up, but we had a positive draft and the team is clearly moving in the right direction from where it was at the end of 2012.

    In any event, the salary cap is what has made the NFL the game that it is. It is extremely hard to keep a team together, but that’s what allows for the relative parity in the league. To say that an organization is “morally bankrupt” because it signs a guy to a long-term deal and then may end up releasing him at some point is silly… every player knows that’s how it works, and the union is a party to the CBA that sets up this structure. Do you think Indy was “morally bankrupt” because they decided not to risk $28 million or whatever it was on Peyton? I don’t think Fitz is hurting for cash and he’s been paid handsomely already — if the Cardinals end up cutting him I hardly think that’s being unfair to Fitz. In the back of the player’s mind, when they sign those deals, they are likely thinking, “Hey, down the road, they’ll either have to pay me, or they’ll have to let me go and I’ll be free to sell my services to the highest bidder or chase a ring.” That’s pretty good flexibility. In the absence of the ability to let a guy like Fitz go, we’d be unlikely to see many long-term contracts to begin with.

  25. By benzbroncos on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    I really believe that Potter, Massie, Watford, etc are the future with the great coaching that is now available…. Many others are at the over priced tail end of their careers… Bless them and thank them for their contribution, but the end is coming,,,

    Sowell is an unproven who may well develop over the next several years,, I hope that he is not another really nice guy like L. Brown,,, Best wishes Levi…

  26. By benzbroncos on Oct 5, 2013 | Reply

    I BELIEVE … that Potter, Massie, Watford ,etc are the future of the Oline… wjth
    the coaching that is now in place… Sowell may develop in a few years,,, Many others have made contributions and deserving of our thanks and admiration as their careers wind down,,,GO CARDS

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