Let’s make this simple. If the Redskins are strongly considering drafting a quarterback with the No. 15 overall selection, they should instead trade the pick for Josh Rosen.
The discussion involving compensation for a deal involving the Cardinals QB largely centers on picks outside of the first round. At least that’s the case when the analysis includes the Redskins.
NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay reported earlier this month that the first-round pick is not involved in any potential offer for Rosen, but an offer involving other selections is possible.
This makes perfect sense from the Redskins perspective – but only if they do intend on drafting Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or Daniel Jones at No. 15.
There’s a long-term need, but the latest NBC Sports Washington 2019 NFL mock draft has the Redskins going with a defender rather than a quarterback.
Let’s take a step back. Rosen only becomes available should Arizona, as widely assumed, select Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray with the first overall selection or the Cardinals land another starting QB option in the draft via trade.
At that point, the Cardinals would presumably deal away Rosen, whom they selected No. 10 overall in 2018 after acquiring the pick for three selections (15, 79, 152).
It’s possible some combination of Haskins, Lock and Jones are available when the Redskins are on the clock in the middle of round one. If the Redskins plan on using the first round pick on a young quarterback even with Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Alex Smith on the roster, then they should take the best option.
For several league sources, that option is Rosen.
“Rosen hands down,” a former NFL general manager told NBC Sports Washington. “He would be No. 2 in this quarterback class behind (Kyler Murray).”
What’s interesting is the scant traction for this trade concept even though other draft thinkers it’s an obvious call.
“I would give up the 15th pick in a second for Josh Rosen if I’m the Washington Redskins,” ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said on a recent edition of the “First Draft” podcast.
The original public idea of a Day 2 selection for Rosen, likely based on the notion of the Cardinals dealing from a position of weakness by drafting Murray, created the “don’t deal a first” narrative.
On another episode of “First Draft,” Kiper’s counterpart, Todd McShay, also advocated Washington dealing No. 15 for Rosen.
“I keep waiting for a deal to be made,” McShay said. “I keep waiting for Washington to wake up.”
Some fans hit the snooze button when it comes to trading for Rosen. His rookie season performance wasn’t great – but neither was the team. Arizona struggled so much the organization fired its first-year head coach. The offensive line defined porous.
Whatever the struggles, those that liked Rosen coming out of UCLA in 2018 largely remain positive, but concerns exist.
One NFL analyst balked at the idea of using No. 15 for any of the passer options, but added, “It would be less risky to trade 15 for Rosen than to take a rookie.”
Rosen’s often-dissected personality comes into play for a former NFL offensive coordinator.
“(I) don’t know the personality of the Redskins’ QB coach (Kevin O’Connell). If not offended by a guy who is going to ask ‘why’ all the time, then I would trade for Rosen,” the former OC said. “If that personality rubs him wrong, I would go Lock.”
The primary downside for adding Rosen over the incoming rookies is the loss of a year on the rookie contract. Any 2019 first-round selection’s contract includes a fifth-year team option. Rosen is down to a maximum of four years, but with a noted benefit.
The Cardinals already paid his signing bonus. What’s left are modest salaries (less than $2 million for the 2019 season) and cap hits. Based on those numbers, almost any team selecting No. 13 thru No. 32 should consider trading for Rosen.
If any of these passers work out, the two sides will, in theory, work toward a long-term extension, so one year lost on Rosen isn’t an issue.
“Doesn’t make sense to let that (Rosen) opportunity slip,” said a league source. “That’s why if it’s truly there, you take it.”
It’s likely both sides are waiting for the deadline pressure, one league source told NBC Sports Washington. The three-day NFL Draft kicks off April 25.
The same league source, who has insight into the Redskins’ mindset, believes Washington remains keen on adding Rosen. NFL Network insider Mike Garofolo reported Friday he doesn’t get the sense the Redskins are “actively pursuing” a trade for Rosen.
There is another hurdle: The Cardinals selecting Murray.
NBC Sports Washington’s began slotting the Heisman Trophy winner to the Cardinals with the March 4 mock draft and each time included some form of “Do not consider this a lock just yet.”
Remember that while there’s a new coach in Arizona, the same GM and owner behind the original Rosen decision remain.
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams are worthy of the first overall pick. Selecting Murray means not just trading Rosen, but bypassing those two linemen.
The same is true for the Redskins on the other side. It’s no lock Rosen or any of the rookie passers starts in 2019. Gruden already stated that the Redskins, who last made the playoffs in 2015, need an immediate impact from their first-round choice. Pass rusher Brian Burns and guard Cody Ford are among the potential targets at No. 15 likely capable of helping from Day 1. Perhaps such help comes via a Day 2 pick in return from Arizona with Rosen.
For now, the idea of Murray going first overall remains the best bet. Should that occur, the Rosen talks presumably heat up. Lock, Haskins and Jones have their backers, but if the Redskins are focused on adding a quarterback, it’s time everyone stops trying to win the trade and focus on the best option with the 15th pick.
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