The last of the postseason awards is a category that the official Associated Press voting doesn’t include.
Which makes us wonder about the wisdom of their executives. Which was the only way we could transition to the topic at hand: the NFL’s executive of the year.
Even more subjective and harder to quantify than coach of the year, the executive of the year combines short-term success with laying the foundation for long-term prosperity.
Based on the regular season -- and the regular season only -- this year’s winner is Cardinals G.M. Steve Keim.
In his first year of running the show, the former N.C. State offensive lineman expertly blended the desire to win now with the importance of building for the future. The acquisition of quarterback Carson Palmer helped make the team a postseason contender, and late offseason moves for tackle Eric Winston and pass rusher John Abraham gave the team enhanced veteran leadership and an affordable infusion of talent.
Keim also got the steal of the 2013 draft by landing Tyrann Mathieu in round three. (Running back Andre Ellington in the sixth round wasn’t bad, either.)
With the 49ers and Seahawks ruling the division (and the conference for that matter), the Cardinals will have a hard time keeping up. Keim has done his part to at least keep them within striking distance for 2014 and beyond.
Other finalists for the prize were Seahawks G.M. John Schneider, Chiefs G.M. John Dorsey, 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke, Broncos executive V.P. of football operations John Elway, and Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco.
Cast your own ballot below. Argue it out in the comments.