Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watch

first_imgArizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches the offense and defense during an NFL football training camp practice Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments   Share   5. LB John Abraham: The Cardinals signed Abraham to a two-year deal worth $4.6 million on July 25, 2013. In his first season, he recorded 11.5 sacks, which ranked seventh in the NFL, and he also had four forced fumbles. Things went south when Abraham was arrested in one of the more bizarre DUI cases on record. He eventually left the team after a concussion suffered in a season-opening win over San Diego when he was kneed in the head and his head hit the turf. The Cards eventually placed him on IR.Honorable mention: CB Antonio Cromartie, RB Chris Johnson, DE Dwight Freeney, LG Mike Iupati.Worst1. WR/KR Ted Ginn: The Cards signed Ginn for three years at $9.75 million in 2014. He was supposed to bring speed at receiver and be a threat as punt and kick returner, but he spent most of the season as the team’s fifth wideout and the Cardinals ranked last in the NFL in kickoff returns. The Cards released him on Feb. 23, 2014, absorbing $1.5 million in dead salary cap money, while saving $2.5 million in cap space.2. LB Sean Weatherspoon: The Cardinals signed Weatherspoon for one year at $3.85 million last summer to help offset the continued absence of Daryl Washington. He appeared in 14 games (no starts), recording 11 combined tackles (nine solos). Top Stories 3. TE John Carlson: The Cardinals signed Carlson to a two-year, $4.65 million deal in 2014 shore up a longstanding trouble spot — a pass-catching tight end. He was a major disappointment. In his first season, he caught 33 passes for 350 yards and had some infamous drops. The following spring, he announced his retirement in a move motivated by his concussion history and a loss of passion for the game.4. RB Rashard Mendenhall: The Cardinals signed Mendenhall to a one-year, $2.5 million deal in 2013 to give them a between-the-tackles runner to complement Andre Ellington, Mendenhall carried 217 times for just 687 yards (3.2 average) as the Cardinals finished 27th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.6) and 23rd in yards 2,340.5. LB Jasper Brinkley: The Cardinals signed Brinkley to a two-year, $3.5 million deal in 2013. He started three games, totaled 30 tackles and five special-teams tackles. He was released after one season. Cutting Brinkley saved the Cardinals $2 million in salary cap space, leaving only $200,000 in dead money.Dishonorable mention: SS Yeremiah Bell, RB Jonathan Dwyer.Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Steve Keim’s aggressive and creative approach to improving the Cardinals’ roster has paid dividends in his first three seasons as general manager. The Cardinals have posted three consecutive 10-plus win seasons for just the second time in franchise history (1974-76) and their 34 wins over the past three seasons are the most over any three-year period for the franchise.Free agency has been a key cog in Keim’s success, with a couple of one-year, incentive-laden deals to accomplished veterans warranting special mention. As the Cardinals prepare for the opening of NFL free agency on Wednesday, we look back on some of Keim’s best and worst moves. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact  Best1. LT Jared Veldheer: The Cardinals signed Veldheer to a five-year, $35 million deal on March 10, 2014. He has been an anchor ever since, locking down a critical position that had been a major weakness while Levi Brown and others manned it. While Keim made some good moves in his first year (2013), this was really the signing that proclaimed a new order for a long-floundering franchise.2. LB Karlos Dansby: The Cardinals brought Dansby back on a one-year, $2.325 million deal in 2013 and it paid major dividends for both sides. Dansby had 122 combined tackles (114 solos), 6.5 sacks, four interceptions (two for TDs), 19 pass defenses and a forced (and recovered) fumble. He parlayed that performance into a four-year, $24 million deal with Cleveland the following summer.3. CB Jerraud Powers: The Cards signed Powers to a three-year, $10.5 million deal in the initial wave of 2013 free agency and he has been a valuable piece of the secondary ever since. He lost his starting job to Antonio Cromartie in 2014 but he had 52 tackles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a sack last season in the final year of his contract.4. DE Frostee Rucker: Rucker joined the team in 2013 on a one-year contract, re-signed on a two-year deal in 2014, and then Arizona extended him another year at a 2016 cap number of $1.353 million. Given Rucker’s solid contributions and his invaluable presence in the locker room, it’s hard to argue with his presence on this list.last_img read more