Arizona Cardinals ownership is mulling sweeping changes for 2019, league sources said, with general manager Steve Keim a strong candidate to join the Raiders front office, should his time in Arizona come to an end.
Rookie head coach Steve Wilks has struggled significantly this season, firing his offensive coordinator mere weeks into the season, clashing with players over his style of defense, dealing with trade requests from star Patrick Peterson, and having to develop rookie quarterback Josh Rosen on the fly. The Cardinals spent over $20M on backup quarterbacks alone, the team has not come close to flirting with contending since last playing meaningful games into December under Bruce Arians, and Keim was jailed for a DUI before the start of the season, another factor for ownership to consider as it mulls how it will reposition from this swoon in 2019.
The Cardinals are tied at 3-10 with the Raiders and 49ers for the worst record in the NFL, and are just 1-6 at home, suffering a series of blowout defeats. The development of Rosen, their first-round pick in 2018, is paramount and Wilks' side of the ball, the defense, has had issues as well. At this point it would be a major surprise if the Cardinals are not conducting a head-coaching search in 2019, league sources indicated, and the real question is whether or not it extends into the front office as well.
Keim is well-liked by the Bidwill family and did great work in helping usher the team into regular playoff contention, along with Arians. But the ability to identify a long-term solution at quarterback has been a lingering problem and the roster is not nearly as robust as it once was, with stars like Calais Campbell and Tyrann Mathieu allowed to depart as free agents, only to immediately thrive elsewhere.
Gruden fired former general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday, one day after CBSSports.com reported McKenzie would not be back for the 2019 season, and the Raiders will be making major changes to the scouting and football operations department beyond just the GM position, sources said. Keim has a reputation as a strong evaluator, he is adept at building a roster and an organization within football operations, and he has the kind of personality and reputation that would mesh well with Gruden, those who know both men believe.