The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Here's What I Think Happens Next For the Cardinals

What a season it has been for the Arizona Cardinals. Based on the way things have been going, you’re almost afraid to ask “what’s next?” because you don’t really want to know the answer.

I’ll risk it anyway because I think I know the answer. So, what’s next for the Arizona Cardinals?

Before I give you the likely answer, let’s pinpoint the moment all of this drama and despair began for the 2022 Arizona Cardinals.

The flashpoint for all of this dysfunction happened on what was supposed to be the greatest day in franchise history, the announcement Kyler Murray had signed a long term mega deal to be the Arizona Cardinals franchise quarterback.

Instead of celebrating this momentous occasion in franchise history, the Cardinals sabotaged it when it was revealed a homework clause was unnecessarily attached to the $230 million payday.

From that point forward, the Cardinals season has followed a similar path. Drama, dysfunction and failure have defined a season that should have been about continuity, chemistry and success in a wide open NFC West and NFC.

There was the Rodney Hudson drama, the Chiefs blowout loss, the Deandre Hopkins PED suspension, the Kliff vs. Kyler drama, the Kliff vs. DHop drama, the Sean Kugler firing, the Patrick Peterson drama, the Kyler torn ACL and now Steve Keim’s medical leave of absence.

Other than that, how was the season Mrs. Lincoln? 

I’m probably leaving out 2 or 3 stories that would’ve been the biggest deal for any other NFL team but for the Cardinals are complete afterthoughts.

So that leads us to today. What do we make of the news bombshell that dropped yesterday that General Manager Steve Keim is on a medical leave of absence?

Let’s start here: Here’s wishing a full and speedy recovery for Steve Keim. I’m not interested in speculating on why he’s on a medical leave of absence but I am interested in speculating on what this means for the future of Keim as GM and for the organization.

Let's also be clear about this conversation: the future of the GM position was in flux well before yesterday's leave of absence news.

Steve Keim’s personal health challenges are not fair game but the Arizona Cardinals organizational health challenges are.

So let’s go back to where we started this blog, what’s next?

Here’s what I think happens in the next six to twelve weeks:

Quentin Harris gets the full time GM job for the Arizona Cardinals. Adrian Wilson gets a job promotion if he doesn’t get another NFL GM job. Steve Keim is quietly brought back in a special advisor to Michael Bidwill role that is a sounding board job for Harris and Bidwill but without any real decision making power.

This scenario allows Michael Bidwill to avoid having to fire Keim and avoid the embarrassment it might bring to him and the organization. It allows Bidwill to maintain familiarity. It allows Bidwill to maintain a large amount of control. It allows the Cardinals to effectively operate unchanged, which is what I think Bidwill wants more than anything.

I may be wrong. Maybe there’s no change at GM and Steve Keim returns to the full time job. Maybe no one internally gets the job IF there is an opening. Maybe the Cardinals clear house and start over.

But based on what we’ve come to know about this franchise, I think what’s next for the Cardinals looks a lot like what has already been for the Cardinals with different names in different places.

Will the results be different? That’s the question I’m afraid to ask because I might not want to know the answer.

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