Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has had a disastrous track record in the NFL Draft. But there is another category where he excels.
Steve Keim may be the best general manager in football when it comes to trades. And while I am a huge proponent of building teams through the draft and supplementing via trades and free agency, I am a bigger proponent of refraining from fixing something that is not broke.
I am probably an even larger proponent of doing things in ways that work for you. It’s clear that Keim’s niche is in the trade department, and today, I want to outline five recent trades that gave the Arizona Cardinals at least some positive returns, starting with the most recent notable moves.
Marquise Brown trade gave the Arizona Cardinals some dynamic duos
When Steve Keim traded for Marquise Brown, I remember hearing mixed reviews. When Brown was arrested this summer, I also joined in the scrutiny regarding the trade. Since then, however, Brown has been a resounding success.
Sure, that can change as we are only five weeks into the season, but 38 receptions, three touchdowns, and 417 receiving yards in those five weeks rank among the best in football. And yes, Brown did cost the Cardinals a first round pick, but at 25, it was well worth it. Especially since Keim’s first rounders don’t often pan out.
Further, it created an opportunity for Brown to reunite with his college quarterback, Kyler Murray. And come Week 7, Brown should, barring anything unforeseen, take the field alongside DeAndre Hopkins.
Zach Ertz trade gave the Cardinals a legit tight end
The Steve Keim Era never saw a great tight end until Ertz arrived via trade. The Philadelphia Eagles, Ertz’s original team, was going through an upheaval who wanted to promote Dallas Goedert to the TE1, hence the trade taking place.
Ertz has since rewarded the Cardinals, with 84 receptions in his first 16 games, 803 yards, and five touchdowns. Many felt the tight end was on the downside of his career, and while Ertz may not be as effective as he once was, he is still among the league’s best.
Rodney Hudson trade upgraded the center position
The Rodney Hudson trade is arguably the worst one on this list, having put up just 16 starts in 22 possible contests. He is also not playing at the same level as he did earlier in his career. The upside? Hudson is at least playing better than what the Arizona Cardinals dealt with at center before his arrival.
Overall, the Hudson deal, at worst, is a bridge that can provide serviceable play until the Cardinals find a center to insert for the long haul. That said, I’m still calling this one a decent trade.
Markus Golden trade was effective in 2020 and 2021
While Golden has been a disappointment through five games this season with eight measly tackles, his five quarterback hits show he is at least getting into the backfield; he just isn’t doing it fast enough. Either way, his 56.2 PFF Grade shows that he could be doing way better.
But that doesn’t mean Golden hasn’t been effective in the past. Keim traded to bring back the player that he originally drafted midway through 2020, and in his first 25 games back with the team, he recorded 14 sacks and 33 quarterback hits.
DeAndre Hopkins trade gave the Arizona Cardinals a true WR1
And finally, we got DeAndre Hopkins, who the Cardinals cannot win without. Or at least win consistently. Hopkins, when on the field, has done nothing but make plays for the Cardinals, In just 26 games with the team, he has 157 catches, 1,979 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns.
Even wilder? The trade only cost the Cardinals a second and fourth round pick, plus David Johnson. Clearly, the Houston Texans thought they were getting a star running back in Johnson, who rushed for just 919 yards for the team, though he did log a respectable 4.3 yards per carry.
Overall, Keim’s reign as general manager has not been kind to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL Draft. But his ability to pull off some blockbusters has kept this team afloat and at least competitive in the Kliff Kingsbury era. With the trade deadline approaching, we will wait and see if Keim will work his magic in the trade department once again.
(Statistics and historical data provided by Pro-Football-Reference)