Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has done a fantastic job dabbling in the free agent market but has also had some strikeouts
The Arizona Cardinals are well aware that personnel decisions are not foolproof. Not every free agent who joins the nest is gonna work out. Along with the free agents hits Steve Keim has executed since his first season as GM in 2013, there have also been some misses.
His initial foray into the free agent pool in ’13 was excellent. Signings such as John Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Eric Winston and Jerraud Powers all worked out well. But there was one glaring mistake that offseason.
Inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley arrived, fresh off of a 117-tackle campaign as a Minnesota Viking in 2012. But he contributed just 27 tackles for Arizona, and his stint with the club lasted just one season.
One of Keim’s worst all-time signings was punter Drew Butler, originally signed in September of 2014. He somehow retained his spot on the roster despite being terrible at his craft until October of 2016. For reasons only known to Cards’ management he was brought back a month later, only to hopefully be banished for good last December.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer was signed in 2014 to replace the retired Rashard Mendenhall. He lasted a whole two games in the Valley of the Sun. He was sent packing after an arrest for a domestic violence incident.
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Also in ’14, the team brought in Ted Ginn Jr. to upgrade their return game. He had one glowing moment as a Cardinal, a game-changing punt-return touchdown against the New York Giants in week two. He was gone after only one year, despite signing a semi-lucrative three-year contract.
Sean Weatherspoon was inked to a deal in 2015 to start at inside linebacker. Missed training camp practices due to nagging injuries placed him in Head coach Bruce Arians’ doghouse. He appeared to never have gotten out of it, contributing a measly 11 tackles with zero starts in his one season with the squad.
Another veteran linebacker, Lamarr Woodley, also joined Arizona in ’15. His production was far from what Keim was looking for when he signed him,10 tackles and just one sack in 10 games. Woodley fired criticisms against James Bettcher during the 2016 offseason, claiming the Cards’ defensive coordinator didn’t “listen to his players”.
With all the current Cardinals set to hit the market next month, Keim has his work cut out for him. He won’t be able to reinforce the roster with just draft picks, free agents will need to be acquired. Here’s hoping he keeps free agent failures to a minimum in 2017.