The Arizona Cardinals once drafted Matt Leinart 10th overall and he went on to start 17 games for them in four years. Now can you imagine that Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in 2018, might actually do even less than that for the Cardinals? It’s looking more and more possible that Arizona might see Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray as such an exceptional prospect that they would consider him drafting him first overall and getting what they can for Rosen after only one season.
Those were the rumors on Sunday as Tony Pauline reported that Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury was telling people that Murray was a “done deal” for Arizona and the number one pick. There was speculation on Monday that teams would be hesitant to give up more than a “third rounder” for Rosen, but that’s all it is. It would seem that the Cardinals would be in a better position to keep Rosen even if they do draft Murray rather than to trade him for a three. He’s an inexpensive quarterback who still has the potential to be a good starter in the NFL. He played on the worst team in the NFL with perhaps the worst offensive line and very few exceptional weapons at receiver or tight end, if any. Rosen is no worse in my eyes after his rookie season than Jared Goff was two years ago.
Arizona doesn’t need to trade Rosen to “recoup” their investment in him if all that entails is a third round pick; general manager Steve Keim gave up a third and a fifth to move up for Rosen last year, so they’d still be out a first and a fifth after only one season with him. It wouldn’t make any sense for them to do that. I think drafting Murray would make it clear that he’s the future, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be the starter and if Rosen were to play well in 2019, then they actually would have a way to recoup their total investment in him, if not more. Competition between the two would not necessarily be a bad thing.
That being said, would a team really only give up a three? Tyrod Taylor was acquired for a third round pick. Teddy Bridgewater was rented to be a backup for a third round pick. Rosen just turned 22, he was the 10th overall pick, he played on the worst team in the league, and he was better than Sam Bradford under mostly the same circumstances. He also changed offensive coordinators midseason and threw 28 passes to someone named Trent Sherfield.
If you’re an NFL team looking for a quarterback this offseason, which possibilities outside of the current draft are even close to matching the possibilities with Rosen? I’d take him over Nick Foles. I’d take him over Teddy Bridgewater. I’d take him over Eli Manning. It would be more than a third round pick.
Will it actually go down this way? We’ll see. If they believe that Murray is as good as how Baker Mayfield looked last year or Russell Wilson has since the beginning, then I think they are doing the right thing. And if they do it, clearly that’s what they believe. The Rams once made that mistake by believing that they should stick with Bradford. The Jacksonville Jaguars made that mistake with Blake Bortles. A franchise quarterback will be immeasurably better than a franchise pass rusher. And if Kingsbury was brought in to overhaul the passing offense to be the most unique and potentially innovative in the NFL for next season, and he requires a certain quarterback to do that, then Rosen is just a waste of time, but he could be just right for someone else.
Also if the Cardinals take Murray, that leaves Nick Bosa as a pre-wrapped gift for the San Francisco 49ers.
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