Who Will Trade for Josh Rosen After QBs Fly Off the Board In Round 1?

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystApril 26, 2019

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Josh Rosen doesn't have to go home, but he can't stay in Arizona with the Cardinals

This became abundantly clear when the organization used the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL draft to select quarterback Kyler Murray on Thursday. 

In doing so, the Cardinals finally sated Kliff Kingsbury's lust to coach the megatalented, albeit diminutive, signal-caller. 

"Cannot wait," the 5'10" Murray said via a conference call, per AZ Central's Bob McManaman. "Me and him have had a relationship since I was like 15 years old, so to finally be able to … this is something we've talked about for a long time. It's been a long time coming, but God works in mysterious ways."

Murray's selection is the right decision to create organizational alignment between the coaching staff and front office. However, landing spots for Rosen, the team's incumbent starter, crumbled as two other quarterback-needy teams addressed the game's most important position with first-round picks. 

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The New York Giants and Washington Redskins developed into the presumed favorites for Rosen's services before the draft only to select Duke's Daniel Jones at No. 6 and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins at No. 15, respectively. 

The list of Arizona's potential trade partners is short, which decreases the team's leverage in negotiations. The Miami Dolphins are Rosen's logical landing spot after the franchise passed on Haskins with the 13th overall pick to choose Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, but multiple obstacles could prevent a deal.

Arizona entered Thursday's proceedings with a first-round asking price, according to NFL.com's Michael Silver. That value never materialized. A second- or third-round selection seems far more realistic. 

The Dolphins are likely competing against themselves. No other team is in dire need of a quarterback. Sure, the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals might consider a move at the right price, but none of them have an immediate need for Rosen. 

Two other intriguing prospects remain. The Dolphins own the 48th overall pick, and Missouri's Drew Lock and West Virginia's Will Grier are still on the board. Arizona can create a market and add assets by trading the 33rd pick to another team possibly interested in Lock or Grier.

However, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim will likely face similar issues when trying to make a trade at the start of Round 2. Miami might not be all that interested in Rosen if the price doesn't come down, since the organization already has eyes on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter

That lack of urgency signals a potential tank job this fall as the Dolphins pursue the left-handed signal-caller. 

The Cardinals would then turn their attention toward the Chargers since Los Angeles has maintained consistent interest in Rosen, last year's 10th overall pick, per Schefter

Miami requires a long-term starter, whereas the Chargers are searching for Philip Rivers' heir apparent. While this may make the Dolphins the leaders to land Rosen entering the draft's second day, his perceived value remains the key to negotiations. 

The 22-year-old second-year quarterback is actually younger than Lock (23 later this year) and Grier (24). Furthermore, whichever team acquires Rosen will do so at a severely discounted price, as The MMQB's Andrew Brandt noted: 

Andrew Brandt @AndrewBrandt

Josh Rosen now becomes the best financial bargain in the NFL. Cardinals paid the bonus ($11 million); new team would get him for $6 million over three years plus a team option. Incredible value. #NFLDraft2019

For comparison, last year's 48th overall draft pick, Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, signed a four-year, $5.75 million deal. The difference between Rosen's remaining contract and an incoming second-round rookie is negligible. This fact alone should be enough to raise the price when moving the quarterback makes sense for multiple parties. 

The Cardinals are even prepared to "keep him" if suitors try to wait out the market and don't provide ample return, per Silver. 

"Whatever decisions are made, it's my duty to prove them right if they keep me, and prove them wrong if they ship me off," Rosen said during an interview with Sports Illustrated (via McManaman). 

Murray isn't averse to working with Rosen, either. 

"For me, my job is to come in every day and work hard and get better each and every day, just do what I can to make this team better," he said, per McManaman. "I've known Josh since high school, so me and him are cool. We got along really well. I've always been fond of him, but us being teammates now, I can't control anything but going in there and working hard."

Uncertainty will only lead to more questions. 

Will Murray be the immediate starter? If one quarterback struggles, will he be pulled? How many reps will each get in practice? Do both fit Kingsbury's system? How will both handle learning a new offense? 

The entire situation is a looming headache for the Cardinals, and they'll be best served by moving on from Rosen and committing to Murray as their franchise signal-caller. 

Other teams could and should look at Rosen as a young, cheap option with first-round potential despite last year's disastrous campaign. The quarterback's talent warranted a top pick last season and didn't just disappear. Rosen spins the ball exceptionally well, and his inquisitive nature allows him to digest tons of information. In any other situation, he'd be exactly what other organizations want in a second- or third-round quarterback prospect as a developmental project. 

The Dolphins are best positioned to complete a deal and expedite their rebuild with Rosen leading the way. Otherwise, the Chargers can swoop in and take the Southern California native home. 


Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @brentsobleski.


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