Bidwill, Keim talk about losing Licht to Bucs

Posted by Darren Urban on January 21, 2014 – 12:03 pm

There will be change for the Cardinals this offseason in the front office. It turns out Jason Licht, vice president of player personnel and right-hand man to General Manager Steve Keim, will be named to the vacant GM job in Tampa Bay, according to Jay Glazer (and now, many national other reporters as well.) It’s a blow to the Cards because Keim and Licht are close. Keim worked hard to bring Licht back from the Patriots after Licht’s first stint in Arizona for the 2008 season. But Licht’s ambition was always to be a GM — he was a finalist for the Bears job in 2012 — and Keim wanted that for Licht as well.

UPDATE: The Cardinals have addressed the move.

“Jason did a tremendous job in two different stints with the Cardinals and we knew it was only a matter of time before he would become a GM,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “We know that he will do a great job in Tampa. At the same time Steve (Keim) has developed a very deep bench in our personnel department to prepare for this event and will continue to make that area a strength of the organization.”

Said Keim, “Anyone that knows Jason recognizes not only what an outstanding evaluator he is but also a high-quality person. His reputation is well-deserved and speaks for itself. There’s no doubt his talent and experience will be a tremendous asset for the Buccaneers and all of us here wish him nothing but the best.”

The Buccaneers have already hired a new coach in Lovie Smith, and there was a lot of talk about the new GM having little true power because it would be wielded by Smith. But Glazer was the latest to report the new GM will indeed control the draft and other personnel decisions. For an up-and-comer like Licht, there would have been no reason to settle for a toothless GM job. Adam Schefter reported Licht will sign a four-year contract.

What does this mean for Keim (below left, with Licht in the middle and scout Terry McDonough)? The Cardinals will have to fill that void. I’m sure, since Licht was also interviewing for the Dolphins GM job, that Keim is prepared for a Licht departure. I don’t know if they would go outside the organization or promote from within. But these are the things you deal with when you hire good people.


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27 Responses to “Bidwill, Keim talk about losing Licht to Bucs”

  1. By Andy Kw on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply


  2. By clssylssy on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Wow…that’s bizarre! Why anybody would want to work for any of these Florida teams with all of their issues over sticking with a winner is beyond me. I’m sure the Cardinals will not have any problem in filling the vacancy left by Licht. At least the Bucs have Lovie Smith as a HC now but I have to wonder how a novice GM given control over the draft and personnel will work out without creating control issues and continued disruption to the success of the team…ARG! I still think the Patriot’s model where the HC is the GM is the best as proven by the Pat’s winning record. At any rate, good luck Jason…be sure and pack plenty of mosquito repellent!

  3. By Kurt on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Best of luck to Jason – he’ll make a great GM for Tampa

  4. By Tucson Card on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Dang, tough loss. At least Licht’s hiring as a GM is a sign that Keim is a good evaluator of talent.

    Darren, I’ve been out of the loop for the past couple of weeks, any news on Bowles?

  5. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: Bowles

    He is staying put.

  6. By Kauaicardsfan on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Awe man, never fails! The sad part of the business, once you have a solid crew someone always rips them apart! You watch if we do good this year watch more of our staff will be going for head coaching jobs! Lets hope we can replace Licht and not miss a beat !

  7. By ored on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    next man up.

  8. By georgiebird on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    It’s a great day when our players, coaches and FO people are wanted by other teams. It wasn’t always that way. Credit goes to Michael Bidwill for bringing the right people in here.
    In recent years, the good teams have successfully replaced departed personnel with even better people. The whole process becomes systemic.

  9. By D on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Good to resign Zastudil. Wonder who is next on Keim’s own FA to resign…doubt if it would be Feely at this time…won’t be Dansby he’ll explore the market, the same for Shaughnessy…probably won’t bring back Bell because of age…Roberts is probably wanting more than we should pay for a 3rd WR…Mendenhall I wouldn’t bring back…same for Winston, I think Massie could start at RT as along as Colledge is back next to him….I would resign some of the lower contract deals…like Benard, Rucker and Jim Dray.

  10. By shannon robinson on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    I’m glad for Jason Licht – always thought he was a strong personna in the FO. To be named a GM must be a life’s dream come true. Good for him! On the Zastudil signing, it’s interesting that he signed a two year deal. I’m wondering if that’s a way to reduce cap impact over two years, assuming he can still pound the ball at age 37 when his new contract expires. My guess is Frostee Rucker, Jim Dray and Bryan McCann are next – we have a hold on Bernard so there’s no rush for the tender. Then we’ll have the waiting game….

  11. By Hammy on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    That’s great for Jason and the Bucs. He was such a good talent evaluator for the Cards. Wish him nothing but the best, enjoy that beautiful weather down in Tampa!

  12. By William Barry on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Hopefully we can fill the void with Jason’s departure. Good luck, Jason. You cant blame him for trying to get a better job—-Go cards!!!!!

  13. By Christo on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    @clssylssy There are only 32 NFL GM’s in the world, the worst opportunity is a still a huge one.

    Best of luck Licht.

  14. By Eazy E on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    We gotta replace him. He’s pretty good though.

  15. By kauaicardsfan on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Aloha Darren,
    Just saw the clip of a season in focus. Would it be available for fans not able to watch it on your local TV station in AZ? Maybe online?

    Mahalo !!!

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Kauai –

    RE: Season in Focus

    The pieces will be posted, yes.

  17. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply

    Dammit…just when we were breathing a sigh of relief over Bowles not going anywhere, someone came and stole our VP of Player Personnel! Who was supposed to be watching this guy???

  18. By Chuck 1 on Jan 21, 2014 | Reply


    With the cap and looming contract decisions, what involvement did Jason have
    e.g. did he do most of the research and number crunching for Keim?

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    Chuck —

    RE: Licht

    Mike Disner crunches most of the numbers. Licht was a player evaluator. He did research for sure, both on the pro and college level. He was what Keim used to be for the Cards.

  20. By georgiebird on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    I’ve already posted my thoughts on the loss of Licht- but here’s a thought. It must have been an uncomfortable situation for the Cards (and Licht) to share their innermost thoughts on the draft when it was just a matter of time before he was with another team.
    I realize this situation goes on with other teams but just wondered the degree of secrecy that exists with draft information.

  21. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Draft info

    It is what it is. Like you said, it happens with every team that loses a personnel guy to another team.

  22. By Woody on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply


    Off topic but, what happened with the Havaard Rugland tryout? Was he good or a bust and is there any continuing interest by the Cards?


  23. By Darren Urban on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    Woody —

    RE: Rugland

    If he signs, he signs. I wasn’t there so I don’t know how it went.

  24. By clssylssy on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    @Christo & all…GM jobs come open every year along with HC jobs and my point was that Jason has it VERY VERY GOOD here in Arizona. He is in a very good place to learn under some of the best football minds in the NFL and while he has worked for a number of franchises, no place will he have the opportunity to get the kind of on-the-job experience working in the knowledge enriched atmosphere with our many coaching football gurus, who are respected leaders in their field, including young up-and-comer GM star, Steve Keim. As in the case of Todd Bowles, my view is that by sticking with a promising contender organization who appears ready to “breakout” into being something major, will only enriches the resume allowing individuals to be choosy about the franchise he moves up to.(In some professions, individuals actually pay for postdoctoral fellowships so that they can work with/under the greats in their field…it”s considered an investment in their future). Unfortunately the more successful a franchise, the harder it is to retain personnel, unless it is a special place to work, offering opportunities for growth inhouse, and it appears that Steve Keim has planned for this eventuality and therefore has already Licht’s replacement in mind. Not everyone would find living in the desert attractive and having spent time in Florida, it’s a pretty place to visit but not all that for living unless you like humidity and mosquitos, gators in your yard, etc. The three Florida teams have had nothing but turmoil and while having all the control might sound attractive, will he really…bet that’s what owner Glazer told the last guy and with an experienced and respected coach like Lovie Smith who doesn’t strike me as somebody who will appreciate some youngster picking his personnel for him, this might not be that much of an opportunity as a minefield…..just say’n? That being said, I wish him good luck and success and am always proud of our players, coaches, and staff who find success after life in Cardinal land, but, next man up!

  25. By joe holst on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    okay, I will take his spot. Re-sign Dansby, Pay D.Washington his 10 million bonus, Draft a Left Tackle somewhere in round1 or 2, Restructure Fitz and Colledge, and a whole lot more to do. Time to knock out the 49ers while there down and we already know we can take down Seattle .

  26. By Dr. G. on Jan 22, 2014 | Reply

    It seems the Bucs have the cart before the horse. They probably panicked for hiring a new coach… If there are differences to settle between these two later on, the coach will perhaps run to the owner instead of dealing with his new GM…. He will never feel that the new GM was instrumental. Always better for the GM to be involved with the hiring of the HC. Bidwill has done all this correctly…. as “not in the Jerry Jones approach.”

    Brainstorm… Maybe a spot for Warner to learn the ropes. He has a good head for business, the game and maybe recruiting. Just thinking. Mark West and Alvan Adams made the move to the Suns admin long ago…still working for them.

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