Its only been a little over two years ago when the Arizona Cardinals traded up to select Josh Rosen 10th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft to be their quarterback of the future. It feels like even longer considering the Cardinals and the rest of the league deemed Rosen a bust extremely early in his career.
After 13 starts with the team, the Cardinals replaced him with first overall pick the following season, Heisman Winner Kyler Murray, and traded him to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick (Andy Isabella). However many believe that Rosen was never given a fair shot to become the future of the team. The Dolphins did not give Rosen a running game, lacked veteran receivers and had a poor offensive line. They also essentially traded away all of their assets including left tackle Laremy Tunsil in preparation to rebuild the team around a rookie quarterback during the 2020-21 season.
The #TankForTua movement concluded during the 2020 draft when the Miami Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall. This also means the end of Josh Rosen’s long term future with the team as its potential starter. Teams have called the Dolphins about the availability of Rosen. He can be a few different things depending on the team he lands with. He could potentially be a team’s future starting quarterback if a veteran is on the way out or not reliable enough or a high end back up. Here are some teams who could trade for Josh Rosen before Week 1.
Never Too Early to Plan Ahead
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Compensation: 2021 3rd round pick, 6th round pick
The Buccaneers made headlines this offseason signing Tom Brady and acquiring Rob Gronkowski. They are setting themselves up to be competitive for the next year or two. However, since the team is relying on older players at prime positions for the foreseeable future, they don’t have a plan in place for the future. Behind Brady the Bucs have Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin and undrafted free agent rookie Reid Sinnett at quarterback. Gabbert is a former first-round pick, however, he will be 31 at the end of next season and has made a career being a quality backup, usually wherever Bruce Arians is coaching. Griffin is also over 30 and has only 2 career completions for 18 yards. Finally, Reid Sinnett will have a tough time making the roster, let alone become the team’s future at quarterback. It isn’t impossible, but the Bucs shouldn’t bank on it.
Rosen has two years left on his rookie deal and a fifth-year option. If they were to acquire Rosen they could evaluate him during the two years Brady would be their starter. He could learn from Brady and try to fix his mistakes from early in his career. Bruce Arians’ offense showcased what Jameis Winston brings to the table. This past year Winston led the league in passing yards under Arians. Rosen could potentially be better in this offense than Winston was if he’s developed into it. It’s not a guarantee that Rosen will be the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he at least gives them a potential plan in the future Post-Brady. A third-round pick might be a lot considering they are trying to contend now. But if it pans out this could end up being a steal.
Learning from Last Season
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Compensation: 2021 4th round pick, 5th round pick
Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest weakness was at the quarterback position. After sustaining an elbow injury less than two games into the year, Ben Roethlisberger missed the rest of the season. This thrust second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph into action. Rudolph threw for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He did not look like a future NFL starter and at times didn’t look like someone a team would want as their back up. Rudolph rotated in and out of the lineup with undrafted rookie Devlin “Duck” Hodges. Hodges looked solid, but was really more popular because of the duck memes, than his play. He ended the year with just over 1,000 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Behind Roethlisberger, the Steelers still have Rudolph and Hodges. They also have former first-round pick Paxton Lynch and former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett on the roster. None of those quarterbacks are the future of the team. At age 38 and coming off an injury Roethlisberger likely has a year or two left. The Steelers have done due diligence on quarterbacks later in the draft, but have not thought about their starter of the future. Trading for Rosen could eliminate that task for the Steelers. Rosen at first might not fit the Steelers’ culture, but since he will be playing for his third team in three years, he might have to learn to adapt for the sake of the rest of his career. Rosen could be the Steelers’ backup quarterback immediately. If he impresses coaches, the Steelers can give Rosen a full year as the team’s starter once Roethlisberger moves on. The compensation of two early day 3 draft picks would be worth it even if Rosen is just the team’s back up. If this is the asking price for Rosen, the Steelers should jump on it.
Return to LA
Team: Los Angeles Rams
Compensation: 2021 4th round pick
Josh Rosen spent three years at UCLA where he was their starting quarterback since his true freshman year. “The Rosen one” looked like he had the potential to be an elite quarterback the last time he played in Los Angeles. One of the two NFL teams in Los Angeles is lacking a quality back up quarterback. Behind Jared Goff, the Rams have John Wolford, who has not played a snap in an NFL game since joining it in 2018 as an undrafted free agent. The Rams also have two undrafted free agent rookies Bryce Perkins and Josh Love behind Wolford who will compete for roster spots along with the backup job.
Last season, the Rams backed up Goff with former third overall pick Blake Bortles. Bortles was let go by the Jaguars after five years with the team when they signed Nick Foles to his massive contract. Bortles likely signed with the team in order to work with offensive genius and Rams head coach Sean McVay for at least a year to see if McVay can help develop or fix his play. However, Bortles only threw two passes the entire year and is currently on the free-agent market. This means that the Rams are no strangers to project quarterbacks with potential as backups.
Some teams can find it intimidating to their starter if they sign a young back up quarterback who was a first-round pick and didn’t work out in their previous location. This is not an issue for the Rams because of their faith in Goff. They also still owe a lot on Goff’s current contract to consider giving up on him one season into it. Since Rosen has two or three years left on his deal Sean McVay can attempt to fix Rosen and see if an offense like his can suit him better than his previous locations. The Rams have a lot of offensive firepower, unlike Rosen’s previous locations. He also has experience playing in the NFC West, playing against the current Seattle Seahawks and San Fransisco 49ers defenses. If Rosen were to land with the Rams, he would be just a backup, barring a Jared Goff meltdown. But the Rams could see Rosen as an opportunity to develop a quarterback with potential and flip him to a quarterback-needy team down the road for higher compensation, much someone would do with a car or a house that needed work.
Really make it a competition
Team: New England Patriots
Compensation: Two compensatory 2021 4th round picks
It seems like every time a quarterback becomes available via trade or free agency, he immediately gets linked to the New England Patriots. It’s within reason, the team is expected to go into next season with unproven sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham as their starter. The Patriots selected Stidham in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Based on how he looked last preseason and during practices, the team feels Stidham is ready to be the teams starting quarterback. However, the team also signed Brian Hoyer as an insurance policy to be a backup or the team’s starter in case Stidham is not ready yet. This would be Hoyer’s third different tenure with the team. The Patriots also signed two undrafted free agent rookie quarterbacks in Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith.
The biggest question revolving around a potential deal between the Dolphins and Patriots is would they be willing to potentially be giving their division rival their quarterback of the future for a couple of draft picks? The Dolphins could try to take advantage and overcharge the Patriots because they are division rivals if they were to negotiate a deal. But, the Patriots won’t move higher than a third-round selection for a player like Rosen unless they knew he was their starter of the future. Bringing in Rosen would make it a real quarterback competition between him and Stidham and might beat him out in camp to be the starter. However as beneficial as it could be if Rosen was traded to New England, it could be risky for him. If he doesn’t become the starter for his third team in three years his career might be over. Best case scenario he is a career back up if he isn’t the starter. This is all realistic if he is traded to New England and both Rosen and the team must realize the risk.
Officially a Journeyman
Team: Tennessee Titans
Compensation: 2021 5th round pick
Last year, the Tennessee Titans took a chance on Ryan Tannehill making him the back up to Marcus Mariota. It worked out really well for the Titans, Tannehill won Comeback Player of the Year and was a large part of why the Titans made it to the AFC Championship. With Mariota gone the Titans are now lacking a backup. The current backup behind Tannehill is Logan Woodside and seventh-round pick Cole McDonald. Woodside has no NFL game experience which is risky for a team looking to be back in the AFC title picture. If Tannehill were to sustain an injury it would be hard to trust the quarterbacks they have on the roster.
Rosen gives the Titans a reliable option behind Tannehill. There would be slim to no chance that Rosen could be any more than a backup in Tennessee. The only way that Rosen could possibly be the team’s future would be if the team picks up Rosen’s fifth-year option and moves Tannehill in 2022 when Tannehill’s contract becomes movable. But there is a very slim chance of all of that happening. Rosen is a backup with an upside that could be valuable to a contender like Tennessee. He would immediately step into that role and could be the beginning of a long career as a journeyman back up quarterback.