The most pivotal offseason of Steve Keim's career has started with the team officially announcing a contract extension for LT DJ Humphries.
Its a fine contract. Humphries was healthy last season, the most physically talented lineman on the team and a player the Cardinals have spent a lot of time developing. Under the tutelage of line coach Sean Kugler, Humphries became a slightly above average starting tackle.
In a perfect world, the Cardinals would've franchise tagged Humphries and asked him to do it all over again in 2020 before they committed long term but this deal is short enough to prevent the Cardinals offensive line anchor from actually sinking their cap.
For many GM's, its a solid signing. For Steve Keim, its basically a home run. Humphries is the first first round pick that has earned a second contract from the Cardinals. Let that sink in.
It would've been foolish to watch Humphries hit the open market and thrive elsewhere so the team made a solid decision that maintains long term flexibility.
Now, what's next?
The Cardinals should still actively seek to upgrade their offensive line. Barring another significant investment in free agency, a right tackle at #8 makes a tremendous amount of sense. The Cardinals haven't had a RT start consecutive seasons in 4 seasons. Jack Conklin on line 1? Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney on lines 2 and 3?
A Patrick Peterson contract extension? Pretty tricky. An all time franchise great at a position where greatness is scarce league wide entering his 30's with a PED suspension and uneven 2019 performance in the last 6 months?
The franchise tag could again come into play if Peterson is asking for record breaking money. The last few Cardinals players to get the tag have been Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell and Karlos Dansby. Peterson might have to prove all over again he's truly elite to get the contract validation he likely seeks. But he's probably make life miserable under the tag. Good luck there.
What about David Johnson? The market is flooded with one time franchise RB's who priced their way out of their team's plans. Would any team really be willing to trade for David Johnson and his contract? And if they were, wouldn't trading for a back with a much better career track record in Le'Veon Bell make more sense if you went down that road?
If you Osweiler David Johnson and attach a mid round pick to dump his contract, you're looking at a 5th round pick traded for Kenyan Drake and another mid rounder to dump David Johnson. Wouldn't the team just have been better off using those two picks on rookie RB's and hoping they nail it?
Maybe its a big, fat deal for Budda Baker. Or tampering with the right defensive lineman's agent at the Combine? Or moving heaven and earth for a massive offer sheet to Amari Cooper? A reunion with Tony Jefferson? A tracking device on Andy Isabella to find out where in the world he actually is?
There are a lot of options.
DJ Humphries contract is done. That was the easy part. Now the real heavy lifting begins..