Steve Keim offered FAs deals that were off table on leaving AZ

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Steve Keim's been aggressive in free agency. (USATSI)
Keim (right) has been aggressive in free agency. (USATSI)

Steve Keim's done a pretty darn good job in his first few months as the new Cardinals general manager. He's still got roster holes, but he landed Bruce Arians and managed to secure -- for absolute pennies -- a quarterback who can piece some wins together in Carson Palmer.

Keim's also taken a very interesting free-agent strategy this offseason. According to Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com, all of the offers Keim handed out to free agents were no longer on the table once said free agents departed from Phoenix to check out other destinations.

“Once a guy left and his feet were on the plane, we were moving on to the next guy,” Keim said. “We aggressively pursued the names on our board, and it worked out for the best."

Arizona's managed to land Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason, Lorenzo Alexander, Jasper Brinkley, Palmer and running back Rashard Mendenhall in free agency.

You can see Keim's style in action with a quote from Powers after he signed with the Cardinals, in which he had to apologize to new Chargers GM Tom Telesco (formerly of the Colts where he knew Powers well) for not making it out to San Diego.

“I felt bad about it,” Powers said via AZCardinals.com. “As a man, you want to go through on those promises, but when it came to this situation, I couldn't pass up, I couldn't turn it down. From the time I walked in, I tried to tell B.A. (Bruce Arians), ‘Look, I've got a visit with San Diego that I got to go to.' He just told me, ‘You're not leaving this building without a red pen in your hand (to sign a deal).'"

It's quite the aggressive approach. But there's also something smart about it: If Arizona likes a guy and a guy is considering Arizona, he can't leave if he wants to think about coming back.

More importantly, said guy can't leverage Arizona's offer up against an offer from anyone else. It gives the Cardinals some pretty serious leverage when it comes to negotiations.

Perhaps it'll one day result in a big-time free agent they want calling their bluff and walking away. But that's the nature of being aggressive. For at least the moment, it appears to be working well for the Cardinals' new GM.

 
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