Arizona Cardinals late roster additions getting job done

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Running back Adrian Peterson
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Running back Adrian Peterson /

Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim has the club headed in the right direction with some late additions to the roster

Back in March, it was apparent that the Arizona Cardinals weren’t looking to make a splash. The NFL’s free agency period was underway. The biggest names on the market were quickly being inked to lucrative contracts.

Steve Keim was electing to take a different path. The general manager of the Cards wasn’t courting the top-tier free agents. Instead, Keim’s choices included affordable types like Antoine Bethea, Karlos Dansby and Phil Dawson.

There were also Cardinals being re-signed. The biggest free agent priority, Chandler Jones, became a very rich man thanks to Arizona’s front office. Jermaine Gresham, A.Q. Shipley, Andre Ellington and Frostee Rucker were also returned to the nest.

While all of the players mentioned above have been solid contributors, it’s been Keim’s later moves that seem to be having the most impact. The two-time NFL Executive of the Year has had some success with such a strategy throughout his tenure. Getting production out of players who are signed deep into the free agent period, often at a cheap rate.

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Though the cornerback position had been looked upon as a need since 2016 ended, it was ignored until late July. A week into training camp, 34-year old Tramon Williams was brought to the desert. The acquisition of the former Green Bay Packer and Cleveland Brown wasn’t considered to be anything special.

But roughly three months later, that under the radar signing may pay off. Williams filled in nicely for an injured Patrick Peterson last Sunday. The performance has him being considered as a replacement for the struggling Justin Bethel.

Football fans don’t normally get excited about their favorite team obtaining a new punter. But when savvy veteran Andy Lee arrived in early September, Arizona backers rejoiced. The former San Francisco 49er has excelled, ranking second in the NFC with a 47.3 average.

A day after Lee arrived, Keim was on-point again. Alex Boone came to the Valley to provide offensive line depth. But a triceps injury to left guard Mike Iupati made Boone a starter, and he’s been excellent to say the least.

The inadequate play of starting right guard Evan Boehm made way for another shrewd signing by Keim. Earl Watford was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars this past March, but then cut before the season-opener. The former Card came back home, and his play has sent Boehm to the bench.

Last week’s trade for running back Adrian Peterson has really earned Keim praise. All the future Hall of Famer wanted was to play. The Cardinals obliged, handing Peterson the rock 26 times during last Sunday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After a start to the offseason that had no one talking, Keim has come on strong. His late adds to the roster have proven that the work of a general manager is never done.