The current regime of Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon entered arguably the worst situation in the NFL, thanks to the misdeeds of former Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. Not only have most of Keim’s draft picks been awful…most…because there are a few solid contributors in that bunch and even an elite talent or two, but his sheer recklessness with Kyler Murray’s contract a-year-and-a-half ago is also lingering.
Yesterday afternoon, Murray looked like anything but a franchise quarterback, and you can point the finger at the line, the receivers, the in-game management, and other factors all you want. But ultimately, for a quarterback making what Steve Keim, and not Monti Ossenfort, gave him, it’s your job to step up, rise up, and find a way to at least keep your team competitive.
What if Murray plays the way he did yesterday for the rest of the season? Now, the Cardinals may find themselves in a can’t-win situation. Either they release or trade him, which will cost them substantially in dead cap, or they can roll with him for another year, draft a few puzzle pieces, and hope they can bail out the former No. 1 pick’s shortcomings.
The Cards wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for Steve Keim who, for one reason or another, gave Murray an extension he never deserved. At least guys like Lamar Jackson have won the division and playoff games. It’s no different from what the Los Angeles Chargers did with Justin Herbert, who currently has a 29-31 record. And both franchises wonder why they can go nowhere.
Steve Keim has set back the Arizona Cardinals current regime in 2023
But extending Murray wasn’t the only potential mishap with Keim, thanks to the fact the Cards traded former eighth-overall pick Isaiah Simmons for a seventh-round pick Once again, you can claim the Cards mishandled Simmons, and perhaps they did, but still, he’s a bust, and that’s all he will be in the grand scope of things.
In 2022, Keim brought Marquise Brown, a former first-round pick who never established himself as a WR1 with the Baltimore Ravens, for a first-round pick. The Cardinals had the 23rd overall selection that year, and could have drafted someone like George Karlaftis, Tyler Smith, or Devin Lloyd, all of whom would have helped as opposed to the underperforming Brown.
Next to Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, and Trey McBride, who else is there drafted from the Keim era of worth that is still on the team? Rondale Moore is so-so at best, Marco Wilson is probably done in Glendale, D.J. Humphries had one Pro Bowl in nine seasons, Zaven Collins hasn’t shown he can be a long-term answer, Cameron Thomas could be on his way out, and Leki Fotu has had nothing more than splash plays. Victor Dimukeje is probably his next-best pick still with the team out of all of the aforementioned players.
So in short, 2023 will inevitably have some fans calling for the Arizona Cardinals to fire Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon thanks to the way the team looks as though it’s regressed. But, before they make any move, they have to ask themselves if these two were making the most out of what they had this season. And perhaps even in 2024, thanks to the former general manager’s recklessness and inability to identify and draft sound talent.
(Contract information provided by Spotrac)