Steve Keim

Mike McCarthy Not Interested In Cardinals’ HC Job; Latest On GM Steve Keim

We learned earlier this week that former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is interested in the Cardinals’ head coaching job, which is expected to become available in short order. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that McCarthy does not want the gig after all, and that he is likely to sit out the 2019 campaign.

If that is the case, it is not for a lack of trying on the Cardinals’ part. La Canfora says that Arizona offered McCarthy control over personnel as well as the on-field product, but McCarthy is content to wait for the perfect opportunity, and it does not appear that the Cardinals’ job is particularly attractive at the moment. There is concern in coaching circles about quarterback Josh Rosen‘s long-term future, and the roster as a whole does not engender much optimism.

Of course, if McCarthy were to accept Arizona’s overtures, current GM Steve Keim would be fired. However, since the Cardinals are not likely to attract McCarthy or any other coach that would be a legitimate candidate to also run the personnel side of things, La Canfora says Keim is likely to return in 2019. Indeed, Keim has already been putting together a list of head coaching candidates in preparation for the upcoming hiring cycle.

One name on Keim’s list could be Jim Caldwell, whom the Packers have already interviewed for McCarthy’s former post. Albert Breer of SI.com reports that Caldwell is likely to be considered for the Cardinals’ job, and even if the team does the unexpected and retains current HC Steve Wilks, Arizona would be interested in Caldwell as a coordinator on Wilks’ staff, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Lauletta, Lee, Cards, Koetter

We learned earlier today that Eli Manning is increasingly likely to remain with the Giants in 2019, and the fact that New York does not presently have a legitimate replacement on its roster is a big reason for that. Indeed, although the team selected Kyle Lauletta in the 2018 draft and repeatedly indicated it wanted to give him some game action this year, Lauletta’s first appearance in a regular season NFL game — during garbage time in last week’s blowout win over the Redskins — did not go well. Lauletta has now been demoted to the team’s No. 3 QB, where he spent most of the season, and he is inactive for the club’s game today. As Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com suggests, that move speaks volumes about where Lauletta is in his development.

Let’s round up a few more NFC items as the Week 15 early afternoon games get underway:

  • Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is active today for the first time since November 5 and will play a reserve role behind rookie phenomenon Leighton Vander Esch, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Lee still provides value when healthy, but Jane Slater of the NFL Network tweets that Lee told the team he did not want to start and interfere with Vander Esch’s progress. It remains to be seen how Lee will be deployed moving forward.
  • At the beginning of this month, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said the Cardinals were going to reassess their front office and coaching staff at the end of the season, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reaffirms that report today. JLC writes that Arizona is mulling sweeping changes, and some sources say it would be a “major surprise” if first-year head coach Steve Wilks keeps his job. The bigger question, according to those sources, is whether GM Steve Keim is retained, but if he is not, he is a strong candidate to join the Raiders‘ front office.
  • The Buccaneers are expected to move on from head coach Dirk Koetter at the end of the season, but La Canfora writes that Koetter is still highly-respected as an offensive coordinator and plenty of teams with OC vacancies this offseason will be pursuing him to fill that role. Koetter’s own OC in Tampa, Todd Monken, will also be a highly-coveted offensive coordinator candidate in 2019 assuming the Bucs cut ties with him.
  • The Eagles remain committed to Carson Wentz, and Nick Foles is expected to hit free agency in 2019.
  • Jay Gruden‘s future with the Redskins is uncertain, but Alex Smith is out of the hospital and there is optimism that he will be able to resume his playing career.

West Notes: Cardinals, Wilks, Taylor, Gordon

We learned at the end of November that Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks is very much on the hot seat less than one year after being one of the hottest head coaching candidates on the market. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirms as much today, reporting that Arizona will reassess its entire football operations and coaching staff at the end of the 2018 campaign (video link). Rapoport says all options are on the table, including dismissing both Wilks and GM Steve Keim, keeping both, or keeping one and not the other. Wilks’ fate will depend in large part on whether the 2-9 Cards continue to play hard for him down the stretch.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • If Wilks does get the boot, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that current Jets head coach Todd Bowles could return to the Cardinals as their HC. Bowles served as Arizona’s defensive coordinator from 2013-14 before accepting the head coaching job with Gang Green, and he remains a beloved figure in the desert. He enjoyed his time with the Cardinals, has strong ties with many prominent figures in the organization, and has a good relationship with some of the existing assistant coaches, so the Cardinals could turn to Bowles if they want to replace Wilks but avoid a complete overhaul. Bowles is expected to be fired by the Jets at the end of the 2018 season.
  • The Rams‘ success under head coach Sean McVay is having a trickle-down effect on his coaching staff. La Canfora writes that Los Angeles’ quarterbacks coach, Zac Taylor, is drawing plenty of buzz as a head coaching candidate and is expected to receive significant interest from clubs looking for a new HC this year. Taylor served as Miami’s offensive coordinator during the second half of the 2015 season and earned rave reviews for his work, and teams would love to bring the 35-yard-old aboard as a coordinator. But the relatively shallow pool of top HC candidates expected to be available in 2019 suggests that Taylor could make a McVay-like leap to the head coaching ranks next year.
  • Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who is currently sidelined with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, could be back as soon as next week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Gordon will miss tonight’s game against Pittsburgh but has a chance to return for the team’s December 9 matchup with the Bengals or the December 13 game in Arrowhead.
  • Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who returned to practice this week, is not expected to play today, per Rapoport (Twitter link). However, Berry has not suffered any setbacks, so he could be ready to go when Kansas City hosts the Ravens next week.
  • More troubling news has emerged regarding former Chiefs star Kareem Hunt, which we detailed this morning.

Extra Points: Cardinals, Wilks, Keim, Patriots, Brady, Browns, Dorsey, Riley

It’s been a rough year for the Cardinals and first year head coach Steve Wilks. The Cardinals have won just two games this season, and both of those wins came against the 49ers. They’ve been blown out on several occasions, and already had to fire offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in the middle of the season. That wasn’t the only drama, as star cornerback Patrick Peterson was also briefly demanding a trade. All the chaos and dysfunction have led many to speculate that Wilks and GM Steve Keim could both be in danger of losing their jobs.

While Wilks is in very real danger of being a one-and-done as head coach, his “job status is more tenuous than Keim’s” is, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. While he acknowledges Keim could be in some trouble too if the Cardinals continue to rack up losses, Somers thinks Keim will have a longer leash than Wilks because he has a past history of winning. That being said, the Cardinals haven’t been good in a few years now and it’s possible team president Michael Bidwill decides to clean house. Either way, it’s looking unlikely that Wilks is back in the desert for a second season.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tom Brady has been a bit banged up recently, causing an internet firestorm when he was absent from Patriots practice on Friday. Although Brady is dealing with an illness and a knee injury, he did officially travel with the team to New York and will suit up against the Jets tomorrow, a source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). It doesn’t seem like Brady was ever in any real danger of missing the game, but it’ll be interesting to see if the knee injury or illness cause him to look less than 100 percent in a game New England needs to win.
  • As the college football season winds down, NFL Draft talk is starting to heat up, and many GM’s and front offices are making their final evaluations on players. Browns GM John Dorsey was at the West Virginia/Oklahoma game Friday night, as well as the Michigan/Ohio State game Saturday morning, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Interestingly, Kay Cabot says Dorsey wasn’t just scouting players at the game he was also scouting coaches, namely Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley. Riley coached Baker Mayfield in college, and has been a popular name in discussions about head coaching vacancies. Kay Cabot also notes that Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s coach, could be another possibility for Dorsey.
  • In case you missed it, a top receiver prospect declared his intention to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Cardinals Reinstate GM Steve Keim

Steve Keim has been reinstated as the GM of the Cardinals, according to a team announcement. Keim was put on the sidelines for five weeks following a DUI arrest earlier this summer. 

During the suspension, Keim was barred from contact with the team and prohibited from entering the team facility. In addition to the ban, Keim was fined $200K, which was subsequently donated to the Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. While away from the club, the Cardinals mandated that he complete counseling, evaluation, and a DUI education course.

We in the NFL are all held to a higher standard,” team president Michael Bidwill said in July at the time of the suspension. “We know what the standards are, we know what the laws are. … I told (Steve) there were going to be consequences…On a personal level I care about Steve a lot, but I have to do my job. It was important I do it, and for me, it was important that he know I’m not messing around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Keim, Seahawks

The Cardinals‘ five-week suspension of GM Steve Keim ended on Wednesday, but he was nowhere to be found during Arizona’s morning practice, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets. Keim is almost always in attendance for practices, so this may be a sign that he has not been fully reinstated just yet.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The Seahawks are trying George Fant at right tackle and allowing him to compete with 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi, as Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. Ifedi led the NFL in penalties last season and struggled in the team’s preseason game on Saturday. Fant started at left tackle as a UDFA in 2016 before tearing his ACL last summer, so the Seahawks have reason to believe that he can be a first-stringer on the other side. Ultimately, one has to wonder if the Seahawks could consider going out-of-house again for a tackle as they did by acquiring Duane Brown last year.
  • Erik Walden‘s deal with the Seahawks is worth $1.105MM and includes just $50K guaranteed, a source tells Henderson (on Twitter). The low guarantee means that the veteran pass rusher is far from a lock to make the Week 1 roster, though it is an area of weakness for Seattle. With the minimum salary benefit, Walden’s contract only counts for $720K against the cap.
  • The Rams have decided against signing Junior Galette, which may improve the Seahawks‘ odds of landing him.

Extra Points: Keim, Cardinals, Breeland, Colts, Beal, Giants, Mayfield, Browns

Steve Keim became the rare GM to be suspended when the team announced his punishment for his “severe DUI” arrest from earlier this month. Speaking to the media, team president Michael Bidwill shined a light on how the team will proceed with out Keim, who is banned for the next five weeks and not allowed to have any contact with the team. Although the suspension was announced as five weeks, along with a $200k fine, “Bidwill made it clear that Keim won’t return that soon unless he meets other requirements, including counseling” according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

Bidwill was highly critical of Keim’s actions, saying flatly “there is no excuse to drink and drive.” Despite his harsh words, Bidwill indicated the team is still Keim’s to run when he returns and that they will be operating under his vision during his absence. While he conceded that training camp is “obviously not a great time to not have your general manager”, Bidwill insisted there won’t be any “drop-off here with his absence.” He said the team’s recent signing of safety Tre Boston, along with their other recent moves, were all made with the belief that they’re what Keim would’ve wanted.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland visited the Colts recently, but the team is unlikely to sign him according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Holder says there’s “no indication that Bashaud Breeland will land in Indianapolis” and that his “sense is they’ll stand pat with the group of corners they have”, adding he’d be “surprised” if the team ends up bringing in Breeland.
  • Injured rookie cornerback Sam Beal will not be able to return this season notes Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. If the Giants had wanted to have Beal eligible for one of their IR/return slots, they would’ve needed to wait until their roster was down to 53-men to place him on inured reserve. The third round supplemental draft pick will redshirt his rookie year and look to return strong in 2019.
  • Browns coach Hue Jackson acknowledged that number one overall pick Baker Mayfield has “exceeded expectations” so far in camp, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Kay Cabot notes that Mayfield “has yet to throw a pick in camp.” Jackson has insisted all along that Tyrod Taylor will be his starter, but it sounds like Mayfield could be pushing for the job sooner rather than later.

Extra Points: Cardinals, Cooks, Gregory, Manhertz, McCluster

Larry Fitzgerald will be back for a 15th season in Arizona, and the long-time Cardinals wideout is set to hit free agency next offseason. Of course, the future Hall of Famer can’t envision himself playing elsewhere, as he essentially told Jace Frederick of TwinCities.com that he’d hang up his cleats if he wasn’t retained by Arizona.

“If I’m not playing in Arizona, I won’t be playing anywhere,” he said. “I’ve built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing.”

Fitzgerald is one of only two players (along with Antonio Brown) to compile 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards over the past three seasons. Despite turning 35 years old this fall, Fitzgerald says he isn’t slowing down.

“It doesn’t really matter about the age, it’s about what you put into it and your mind-set,” he said. “Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it’s supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned earlier today that wideout Brandin Cooks had inked a five-year, $80MM extension with the Rams. NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets that the new deal contains $20.5MM in guaranteed money and a $50.5MM injury guarantee. NFL.com’s Albert Breer clarifies (via Twitter) that the deal will actually total $81MM, with the $16.2MM average annual value trailing only Brown, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins.
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty today to extreme DUI, and the Cardinals subsequently fined and suspended the executive. Kent Somers of AZCentral tweets that there won’t be an interim general manager during Keim’s absence, as the team will ultimately divide his responsibilities. Terry McDonough will likely handle the “evaluation side,” while Mike Disner will focus on contracts and the cap. Somer adds that Keim won’t face further discipline from the NFL.
  • Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that Keim’s suspension “doesn’t preclude” the Cardinals from working out a long-term deal with running back David Johnson, echoing that Disner would likely negotiate the contract. The Pro Bowler skipped mandatory minicamp last month as he looks for a raise on his $1.8MM base salary.
  • Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The 26-year-old underwent offseason surgery after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot. The team is hopeful that Greg Olsen‘s primary backup will be ready for the start of the regular season. As Person points out, Manhertz’s absence will provide fourth-rounder Ian Thomas with an opportunity to contribute during training camp.
  • Earlier today, the NFL reinstated Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory on a conditional basis. Naturally, after appearing in only two games over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old is excited about the prospect of returning to the NFL. “I’m very excited,” Gregory said (via the Dallas News’ Jon Machota on Twitter). “Thanks to the ones who supported me and stood by me. It’s a lot more to the story than it seems and it took me a lot to get to this point. Now I’m ready to make some plays.”
  • Former NFL running back Dexter McCluster has caught on with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL (via CFL.ca). The 29-year-old played in six games with the Chargers during the 2016 season. During his four years with the Chiefs, McCluster compiled 662 rush yards, 1,500 receiving yards, and more than 2,000 return yards.

Cardinals Suspend GM Steve Keim

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty today to extreme DUI. Shortly thereafter, the organization announced that they have suspended and fined the executive. The punishment stems from an incident earlier this month.

Keim will ultimately be suspended for five weeks and will be fined $200K. According to the team, that money will be donated to the Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. During the suspension, Keim won’t be allowed to contact or visit the team. He also won’t be allowed to return until he completes “counseling and evaluation, in addition to a DUI education course.”

“As stated at the time of the incident, this behavior is indefensible and completely unacceptable,” the team said in a statement. “While Steve has accepted full accountability and responsibility for his actions, that does not diminish their gravity nor the severity of the consequences that result from them.”

Keim was cited for a DUI back on July 5th. He was booked and released that same night. Keim joined the organization as a college scout in 1999, and he quickly worked his way up the ranks. He was named general manager back in 2013, and he inked a four-year extension with the team in February.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cardinals GM Steve Keim

We learned late last week that Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was cited for a DUI on July 5th. We knew then that Keim could face punishment under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Today, team president Michael  Bidwill seemingly confirmed that fact, as he hinted that the executive could face “consequences” for his actions.

“First of all, I’m extremely disappointed,” Bidwill said during an interview with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead (via ProFootballTalk.com’s Josh Alper). “It’s inexcusable. He did bring it to our attention right away that night and has been extremely remorseful and contrite. He’s taken steps to make things right, but the reality is that there is a process in place that the league has and there are going to be consequences here.”

Alper points out that previous discipline under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy has led to suspensions and fines, and he opines that Keim’s blood alcohol concentration will influence any potential punishment.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss passes along additional details regarding Keim’s arrest. The general manager was seen drifting between two lanes, and the officer could “smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” after Keim was pulled over. The executive did give his name to the officer, but he claimed to be the team’s director of security. Keim was also unable to complete the physical components of the field sobriety test, citing a “pre-existing knee injury.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.