It’s been one of the stories of the off-season. As Kyler Murray has gone from baseball player to first round pick, the rumors that Josh Rosen could be traded have gotten traction. As the Combine arrives, the whispers seem to be getting louder. They shouldn’t be, though.
Last year, the Arizona Cardinals gave up the 15th pick, a third and fifth round pick to move up for Rosen. He took over as the starter fairly early, but the season didn’t go as well as he would have liked. He finished with 55% completion percentage, for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. In games he started, the Cardinals went 3-11 and the team wound up with the first overall pick.
It should be noted that in his rookie season, Rosen wasn’t working with much. His offensive line was terrible, his receivers were sub-par, and the coaching staff was terrible. It wasn’t even just Rosen who struggled. David Johnson had under 1,000 yards rushing, and averaged just 3.64 yards per carry. The entire offense was dreadful, and shouldn’t be pinned on the quarterback.
This off-season, the Cardinals have brought in a young, offensive-minded head coach, and the talk of trading Rosen and drafting Murray began. It’s understandable, at least from a strictly evaluative perspective. Rosen had his issues, while Murray is the current darling of the draft. A new head coach often wants to their own hand-picked QB, and Murray is an exciting prospect who can do things that no other passer can. He figures to be highly coveted for the skillset he brings to the field.
The more important part of this story is the compensation. The Cardinals have many needs, and drafting another QB means they’re losing out on a potential star, like Nick Bosa. Just exchanging Rosen for Murray is one thing, and could be viewed favorably by many. However, this would be, in essence, trading Rosen and Bosa for Murray. That’s harder to justify.
A quarterback-needy team, like the Giants, may be willing to trade for Rosen, but a first round pick might be too much for them. They would be trading a young QB with potential for another, but adding a less talented piece around him. There’s no guarantee any QB will succeed, but all things being equal, not upgrading under center, and missing out on a player like Bosa would be a disaster.
It’s impossible to fault any team for trying to get better at quarterback. It’s not the only thing that matters, though. Also, it’s not as if Rosen was an afterthought. He was the top QB in the draft for some people, and the Cardinals traded up to get him.
Trading Rosen for a 2nd and 3rd round pick (a guess from some) has to be worth it in terms of value. Murray might have more raw talent than Rosen, but in terms of evaluation, they are on a similar plane, both unproven. Is an effective trade of Rosen, Bosa, and the 3rd and 5th round pics from last year for Murray and a 2nd and 3rd round pick worth it? In a word, no. Murray carries some risk, and the Cardinals need too much help elsewhere. If anything, they should trade down a few picks and acquire even more help. Adding an exciting player like Murray seems like a great idea, but for the Cardinals, just doesn’t make any sense.