Potential Landing Spots, Trade Ideas for Top-10 Bust Josh Rosen

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystMay 22, 2020

Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass, during the second half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Josh Rosen deserves a real shot to achieve success. His next opportunity won't be his third; it'll be his first after being thrust into scenarios wherein he had absolutely no hope of excelling.

Another landing spot after false starts with the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins could well be what's necessary to realize the potential that made him the 10th overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft. A few organizations should be intrigued by the possibility of acquiring Rosen and willing to make a move.

According to NFL Network's Michael Giardi, "teams called the Miami Dolphins about Rosen's availability" but Miami is "in no hurry to trade him."

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons should be the first suitors calling Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.

For some, Rosen is already an afterthought.

The other four first-round quarterbacks chosen in the same class started to realize some of their immense potential. Lamar Jackson is the reigning NFL MVP. Baker Mayfield set a rookie record with 27 touchdown passes. Josh Allen helped lead the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs. And Sam Darnold looks like the future of the New York Jets organization.

Contrarily, Rosen is now the third man on the Dolphins' quarterback depth chart behind 15-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and this year's fifth overall draft pick, Tua Tagovailoa.

His standing wasn't even acknowledged during Fitzpatrick's recent meeting with local media. The 37-year-old signal-caller plans to aid in Tagovailoa's understanding of the offense, but the elder statesman fully intends to remain the team's starter, per the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley.

To be fair, Rosen hasn't played particularly well. In 20 career games, the UCLA product completed 54.8 percent of his passes with a 12-to-19 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The young signal-caller appeared overwhelmed, especially playing behind inferior offensive fronts.

How could he possibly look good based on the situations in which he was placed?

No highly touted quarterback prospect in recent memory endured a worse introduction to professional football than Rosen.

The Cardinals were a disaster in 2018. First-time head coach Steve Wilks replaced offensive coordinator Mike McCoy before Arizona reached the halfway point of the campaign. Wilks was out of his element and unprepared to be an NFL head coach. His tenure lasted one season as the Cardinals nosedived into the league's worst squad.

In the end, Arizona did what was best for the organization by drafting Kyler Murray No. 1 overall to replace Rosen, but the move wasn't a complete indictment of the previous high draft pick.

The Dolphins traded a second-round pick to acquire Rosen, and he entered another situation where winning wasn't a priority.

Miami performed better than expected with Fitzpatrick pulling out some of his old magic, but the franchise was clearly in the middle of a complete resetwhich, once again, hinders the development of a young quarterback. The Dolphins followed the Cardinals blueprint by targeting and drafting their preferred franchise prospect the following spring.

Once the season begins—whenever that may be—the Dolphins won't need to carry three quarterbacks, which makes Rosen superfluous. Multiple squads could use a 23-year-old project with enough upside to potentially be a long-term starter if properly developed, though he's not going to demand the same type of return the Dolphins originally surrendered to acquire his services. 

These particular organizations should place Rosen under lock and key in a situation where he's not thrust into the lineup or expected to carry the team despite overwhelming circumstances and simply allow him to develop. Let's not forget: Rosen is younger than this year's No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow.


Steelers' Successor

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Steelers are all-in with Ben Roethlisberger.

The organization has done nothing to address the quarterback position after the 38-year-old suffered a season-ending elbow injury to his throwing arm. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges remain on the roster as unimpressive depth after struggling to perform at a satisfactory level in Big Ben's stead.

The aging quarterback appears to be more than ready for his return after organizing offseason workouts.

"Man, he let it rip," wide receiver Ryan Switzer told The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. "There was no restraint, no hesitancy, he was just out there. He has been throwing like that for a while and, in my opinion at least, getting out there on that field for the first time and throwing full-speed routes was refreshing."

Roethlisberger's return places Pittsburgh back into contender status after last season's 8-8 campaign. How the 16-year veteran performs will dictate the franchise's near futurea perfect setup for Rosen.

There would be no pressure on the incoming quarterback to shoulder heavy expectations. Instead, Rosen would be allotted time to learn the system behind Roethlisberger, who holds a $41.25 million salary-cap hit next season, for a year or more.

Rosen provides far more upside than Rudolph or Hodges. Plus, Pittsburgh features the skill-position performers and protection to make him comfortable.

The Steelers can invest in a lottery ticket and possibly strike it rich despite the deeply discounted price tag.

Possible Compensation: 2021 fourth-round draft pick.


Moving On from Matthew Stafford

John Hefti/Associated Press

As soon as Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford placed his home on the market, the rumor mill ran rampant, though the decision had nothing to do with football matters.

"Listen, I'm here, I want to be here," Stafford said, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett. "I love being a Detroit Lion, I love leading this team. All that kind of stuff is just out there to be out there."

The Stafford family's pending move happened to coincide with the fact that the 32-year-old played in only half the games last season because of a back injury. However, the Lions were in a position to select Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa if they wanted to replace Stafford, and obviously that didn't turn out to be the case.

The 2009 first overall pick's contract remains a sticking point, though. The Lions have yet to win a postseason contest with Stafford leading the way. Meanwhile, his 2021 salary-cap number escalates to $33 million. Detroit can save $14 million by releasing Stafford next offseason if the franchise doesn't show significant improvement.

Last season's 3-12-1 record doesn't fall squarely on Stafford's shoulders, and it's unfair for anyone to lay the majority of the blame at the quarterback's feet. Besides, he played well before his season was cut short.

But the Lions must plan for the possibility of further turnover. Rosen can be a long-term insurance policy since current backup Chase Daniel turns 34 this year and started five career games.

Another disappointing campaign could signal the end of head coach Matt Patricia and possibly Stafford. Even if a new regime enters the fray, Stafford could remain with Rosen developing behind the veteran as an enticing selling point for another general manager/head coach combo.

Possible Compensation: 2021 fifth-round draft pick.


Strange Fit with Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 28: Matt Ryan #2 looks towards Matt Schaub #8 of the Atlanta Falcons prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Quick raise of hands: Who realized Matt Schaub is still in the league?

Well, he is.

Schaub turns 39 this summer. The Falcons don't need another aging quarterback on the roster. Matt Ryan, 35, is the only veteran presence needed.

Clearly, Ryan is the team's starter for the long haul after signing a five-year, $150 million deal prior to the 2018 campaign.

But the Falcons were looking to possibly cover their bases during the NFL draft. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said on Complex's Load Management podcast that the team was "strangely interested" in quarterbacks during this year's evaluation process.

Ultimately, the team didn't add anyone to the quarterback room this offseason. So, the possibility of getting Rosen on the cheap depending on other teams' interest should intrigue general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

Possible Compensation: conditional 2021 sixth-round draft pick.


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


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