The Arizona Cardinals currently hold the #1 overall pick in this upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. The immediate buzz surrounding this Draft was that it’s filled with top-premier defensive talents; especially on D-Line with former Ohio State DE Nick Bosa and Alabama DT Quinnen Williams.
Now the buzz has switched towards former Heisman Trophy Winner: Kyler Murray from the University of Oklahoma.
Murray’s electrifying skill-set for a quarterback has caught the eyes of everybody. Last weekend, he measured in at the NFL Combine at 5’10”, 207 lb. answering a lot of the concerns regarding whether or not his limited size will affect his play in the NFL.
Cardinals hired former Texas Tech HC Kliff Kingsbury after they decided to fire their first-year former HC Steve Wilks. Kingsbury garnered a lot of attention despite his losing coaching record (35-40) at Texas Tech; due to his successful experiences and impact toward developing QB’s. Follow a five -year stint as a backup QB in the NFL and CFL (02-07′), he was hired as an offensive assistant (OA) at the University of Houston where he contributed in developing Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum in 2009.
In 2012, he spent one season at Texas A&M serving as offensive coordinator where he developed Johnny Manziel into the first-ever Heisman Trophy winner as a Freshman. In 2013, he was named HC at Texas Tech and for his first starter he chose to start last year’s first-overall pick Baker Mayfield (before he transferred to OU). When he Mayfield was injured during the season, he replaced him with former 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb. His most notable success came in 2015 where he developed NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.
There is a real strong-connection between Kingsbury & Murray:
- Kingsbury helped recruit Kyler Murray to Texas A&M (where Murray originally played at before transferring to OU).
- Kyler Murray recently hired Erik Burkhardt as his agent, who also ironically happens to represent Kingsbury.
- Kingsbury has expressed his awe and appreciation for Murray’s game.
- Murray’s skill-set translates very-well towards Kingsbury’s fast-paced spread offensive style of play; which is what NFL offenses are evolving into.
While Murray & the Cardinals may appear to be the “perfect match”; there’s one issue: QB Josh Rosen.
Arizona just selected Rose in last year with the 10th overall pick. Rosen is a 22-year-old QB with a massive amount of potential. He threw for 11 TD & 14 INT last season, and although that appeared to be a struggle; the fact of the matter is Rosen had absolutely no help and it’s unfair to judge him strictly based off last season’s performance.
The Cardinals basically threw him to the wolves after Week 3 of the regular season naming him the starter. He played under a 1st-year HC, was protected by a depleted and extremely-inconsistent O-Line, his offensive coordinator was fired mid-season, and the skill positions surrounding him was so inconsistent with many dropped balls.
The Cardinals finished 3-13, but on the bright-side Rosen earned all three of those wins as the starter (3-10). ProFootballFocus scored Rosen with a 49.1 grade (out of 100). Typically that is a real-concerning grade for a starting-QB, but it’s not as concerning when you consider the limited-resources which surrounded him. For example, Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff struggled a ton in his first-season finishing with a lower PFF-grade of (42.9), throwing for 5 TD & 7 Int in seven games.
When accessing the trade-value for Rosen there’s many things to consider. First, Rosen is only 22-years-old. He has a ton to offer already but has plenty of room to improve his game. He’s considered a very-intelligent guy and demonstrated at UCLA that he has more than enough arm strength and accuracy which NFL scouts are always craving. There’s a real-strong possibility that Rosen could improve a ton in his second-season similarly towards how Goff did once HC Sean McVay was hired.
The fact of the matter is Cardinals are disrupting the developmental process of Josh Rosen with these rumors of Murray surrounding him. If they feel that Kyler Murray is everything they want, he’s a better fit for their scheme, and they completely are confident he’s a better QB than Rosen; then it ultimately would make sense for them to make a deal, but it comes with a huge-risk.
On the other side, giving up and trading away somebody like Josh Rosen would mean they’re entirely okay with pretty much forfeiting last year’s first round pick; unless somehow they receive a first-round pick in return for Rosen. The case for Rosen is really interesting. Quarterback obviously is the most important position (arguably among any sport), which makes it all so compelling to see potentially see what a team would offer to possibly acquire a future franchise-QB.
The Redskins, Dolphins, and Broncos are all in the immediate-quarterback market with their draft slots might not allow them to get the one they want. The Steelers, Chargers, Saints, and Patriots all eventually will have to consider options to groom as their next QB following retirements. The Bengals, Raiders, and Buccaneers could possibly all take a look at another QB.
There are three teams to keep-an-eye out for to inquire Rosen: The Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins. These three teams all have an immediate need at QB, and it would be very-surprising to not see at least two or three of these teams attempt to acquire him. The last team to perhaps look-out for is the Patriots, even though Tom Brady just won a Super Bowl; he will be 42-years-old next season so it definitely would not hurt to have a plan set in place to groom Rosen his eventual replacement
According to Peter King (NBC Sports) he suggested the rumored value for Rosen is around a 3rd-round pick. I can totally understand a bit of the skepticism surrounding Rosen following his rookie-season, but Rosen definitely would be arguably be the top-QB in this upcoming draft. Besides Murray, teams whom are considering to draft QB’s like Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones in the first round have to understand that acquiring Rosen for a 3rd or even 2nd round draft pick would offer only a lit bit of a risk, with a gigantic reward.
Rosen has three-years left on his contract. If a team were to acquire him, the cap hit would be a reasonable hit between $4-6M per season until 2022. On the other side, the Cardinals would take a massive-risk by trading Rosen away. They would receive a dead-cap penalty of roughly a total of $30M over the next three seasons, including a a $14M cap hit next season. To put that into perspective how crucial that would be; Josh Rosen’s $14M dead cap penalty would be $3M more on the salary cap than 8x Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson receives next season.
If the Cardinals are seriously “all-in” on Kyler Murray it makes sense, but it surely will be a huge gamble for the future state of the franchise. Trading Rosen will affect their current and future salary cap in dead cap which will hurt their flexibility towards rebuilding their roster. On top of the dead cap penalty for Rosen, they then would also have to pay Murray based on his 1st overall draft pick value.
It also would completely waste last year’s first round pick and the majority of their draft. Arizona moved up from 15th to 10th overall to acquire Rosen, which resulted in them trading away last year’s 3rd & 5th draft picks to the Oakland Raiders.
For teams searching and in-need of a franchise or future-franchise QB, acquiring Josh Rosen is perceived as a risk, but here the reward may potentially far outweigh the risk. Drafting any QB in this year’s class can even be more of a gamble. Nobody knows for sure if any of them will be a guaranteed dependable starting QB, so why not consider taking a shot on Rosen for a second or third round pick?