Arizona Cardinals: Coach and passer package deal possible
If the Arizona Cardinals hire Pat Shurmur as their next head coach, a free agent quarterback may also come along for the ride
The Arizona Cardinals’ pursuit of a certain head coaching candidate could have an interesting twist. A twist that could involve a head coach AND free agent quarterback migrating to the desert together. A “kill two birds with one stone” type of deal for the organization, so to speak.
There are certain observers of the NFL who feel that whoever hires Pat Shurmur to lead their squad could get Case Keenum along with him. The Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator has done a bang-up job this season, in large part because of the play of the journeyman signal-caller. The Cardinals are a club in need of both a coach and a passer, so the Shurmur-Keenum package deal makes sense for them in that regard.
Keenum, a backup when the 2017 campaign started, has the Vikes within three victories of a Lombardi Trophy. The 29-year old has parlayed a Sam Bradford injury into the best performance of his career. And his timing couldn’t have been any better.
Keenum has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns in 14 starts. His stellar play will go a long way in helping his agent at the negotiating table this offseason. Just which team will be handing Keenum his new contract is anyone’s guess at this point.
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Minnesota’s current quarterback situation is a peculiar one. The three that they had on their roster in ’17 will all be unrestricted free agents in March. That trio not only includes Keenum and Bradford, but also Teddy Bridgewater as well.
For now at least, the belief is that the Vikings will designate Bridgewater their starter for 2018. The former first-round draft pick out of Louisville is back from the devastating knee injury he suffered in 2016. Bradford, who has also had knee problems, appears to be the odd man out.
However, there is another scenario. If Keenum leads Minnesota to a Super Bowl title, would they really let him walk? Their general manager, Rick Speilman, would have quite an interesting dilemma on his hands if that were to happen.
There’s also a possibility that Keenum gets slapped with the franchise tag. Compensation now comes into the picture if that were to happen. Would Arizona be willing to give up a first-round pick, and possibly even more, for the career-backup?
Word out of Cards’ headquarters is that general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts are big fans of Shurmur. That’s despite the fact that the 52-year old failed as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Shurmur posted a dreadful 9-23 mark in his two years (2011-12) as their head man.
How would the Shurmur-Keenum combination sit with Cardinals’ fans? Granted, a retread head coach and a quarterback who’s career has been basically a rollercoaster ride may not be overly-appealing. It is a possibility however, just one of several that Arizona’s management team will be considering as their quest to find Bruce Arians’ successor heats up.