The Arizona Cardinals continue to reach new lows (USA Today Sports)
After a week-long search, the Arizona Cardinals announced that they have promoted vice president of player personnel Steve Keim to fill their vacant general manager position.
The Cardinals fired longtime general manager Rod Graves, along with head coach Ken Whisenhunt, on Dec. 31 after the Cardinals lost 11 of their final 12 games during the 2012 season to finish with a 5-11 record. Graves was with the organization for 16 seasons and was the team's GM since 2007. Over his tenure, the club reached the Super Bowl (a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII), but missed the playoffs the last three seasons and have failed to adequately address the quarterback position since the retirement of Kurt Warner following the 2009 season.
Keim's first priority will be assisting team president Michael Bidwill in the team's search for a head coach. Thus far, the Cardinals have interviewed current defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and have received permission to interview Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
A second priority for Keim will be addressing the Cardinals' quarterback position.
The Cardinals will have a decision to make on Kevin Kolb, who has started 14 games and passed for 3,124 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the two seasons since he was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2012 second-round pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. During that time, Kolb has earned $20.5 million from the Cardinals and is due a $2 million roster bonus on March 17, the fifth day of the 2013 league year, and $9 million in non-guaranteed base salary next season. The only other quarterbacks the Cardinals have signed for 2013 are John Skelton and 2012 sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley. Veteran Brian Hoyer started the regular season finale, but will be unrestricted free agent in March.
Keim has been with the Cardinals since 1999, initially working as a regional scout before he was promoting to director of college scouting in 2006. Keim became the Cardinals' director of player personnel in 2008 and, in May of 2012, was elevated to vice president of player personnel.
The 40-year-old Keim has been a hot candidate in recent NFL offseasons, drawing interest from the St. Louis Rams in their search for a new general manager following the 2011 season. In addition to the Cardinals, Keim was a candidate for general manager openings with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers.
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