Josh Rosen

Falcons Worked Out QB Blake Bortles

Before the Falcons signed Josh Rosen yesterday, the team took a look at another disappointing former first-round pick. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Atlanta worked out Blake Bortles recently.

The former third-overall pick has only seen the field for three games since the 2019 season. He spent the 2020 season bouncing on and off the Broncos active roster and practice squad, and he ended the campaign on the Rams practice squad. He signed a deal with the Packers earlier this offseason, but he was cut by the organization last month.

Bortles, of course, disappointed during his five seasons with the Jaguars, where he completed only 59.4-percent of his passes for 92 touchdowns and 58 interceptions. More notably, he had a 24-49 record as a starter, although he did have a three-game postseason run with Jacksonville in 2017.

The Falcons were hunting for a quarterback following the season-ending injury to backup A.J. McCarron. Rosen will likely step up as Matt Ryan‘s primary backup, and the team is also rostering rookie UDFA Feleipe Franks. If Rosen and/or Franks prove that they’re not worth their roster spot, perhaps the organization would give Bortles a second look.

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Falcons To Sign QB Josh Rosen

Shortly after the Falcons lost A.J. McCarron to a season-ending ACL tear, they have agreed to terms with Josh Rosen. The recently cut 49ers quarterback will head to Atlanta, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Schultz (on Twitter).

This will mark Rosen’s fifth team since 2018. The former Cardinals top-10 pick was in Miami by 2019 and spent the 2020 season in Tampa and San Francisco. The 49ers, however, made Rosen one of their first training camp cuts this year. The UCLA product cleared waivers shortly before McCarron’s injury, opening the door for this marriage of convenience.

Rosen has not played since the 2019 season, having spent the 2020 campaign on the Bucs’ practice squad and as a 49ers backup. The Falcons, however, have seen their QB room become light on experience behind Matt Ryan. Following longtime backup Matt Schaub‘s retirement, the Falcons signed McCarron. His ACL tear left rookie UDFA Feleipe Franks as Atlanta’s lone quarterback behind Ryan on the depth chart.

The fourth quarterback selected in 2018’s five-QB first round, Rosen has drawn some bad cards to start his career. He struggled on an overmatched Cardinals offense in 2018, and the franchise’s Kliff Kingsbury hire led to Rosen being traded to the Dolphins during the 2019 draft. Starting a rebuild, the Dolphins plugged in Rosen for three starts. Ryan Fitzpatrick held onto that job for most of the season. Rosen did not move up to the Bucs’ active roster during his time on what turned out to be a Super Bowl-winning team.

Overall, Rosen has not shown much to justify that original 10th overall draft position. The 24-year-old QB has completed just 55% of his passes (on 5.7 yards per attempt) and has thrown 12 touchdown passes compared to 19 interceptions. Rosen will attempt to learn a fifth offense, but Ryan has been one of the most durable players of his generation. The 14th-year Falcons passer has missed just three games in his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Waive QB Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen is on the move again. The former top-10 pick ended up lasting through just one preseason game in San Francisco, with the 49ers opting to cut him Tuesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Rosen has since cleared waivers, moving into free agency.

The 49ers poached the UCLA alum off the Buccaneers’ practice squad late last season, but signs this relationship was not prospering emerged recently. Kyle Shanahan said Rosen was not impressing in practice, and the once-coveted quarterback prospect noted that he was not seeing much time at 49ers workouts in the first place. Rosen did not impress in the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Chiefs.

While the 49ers were open to keeping both Rosen and third-string QB competitor Nate Sudfeld, with the loser being stashed on the team’s practice squad, Rosen being cut this early points to him needing to find a new home. The young passer has already been with four teams despite being drafted just three years ago.

The Cardinals, Dolphins, Bucs and 49ers have now punted on Rosen. Only the Cards received value for doing so, with the Dolphins sending them a second-round pick in the teams’ 2019 trade. The Dolphins waived Rosen ahead of the 2020 season, leading him to the Bucs’ practice squad. The Bucs did not opt to move the pocket passer onto their roster to stop the 49ers from adding him to theirs. Now, the 49ers have seen enough, inviting questions about Rosen’s future in the NFL.

Sudfeld, a longtime Eagles third- or second-string QB, is now in line to serve as the 49ers’ third-stringer behind Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. Neither Sudfeld nor Rosen received any 11-on-11 reps in this week’s practices, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (on Twitter). Having played just one full college season, Lance will certainly need as much practice work as possible as he transitions to the pros.

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QB Notes: Patriots, Dak, Brady, Rosen

Shortly after the draft, Bill Belichick said Cam Newton was the Patriots‘ starter and Mac Jones would develop behind him. Through two-plus weeks of training camp, a competition could be brewing. The gap between Newton and Jones has narrowed, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. It is not certain if Jones can mount a legitimate charge to unseat Newton for Week 1, but modern NFL history — excepting the Packers’ blueprints — points to this transition happening this season. Newton has never played a backup role as a pro, so it would be interesting to see how the Patriots would proceed if Jones beats him out. If Jones does end up winning the job, Belichick giving Newton a choice to either stay with the Patriots or be released would not surprise Reiss. New England re-signed Brian Hoyer this offseason and has Jarrett Stidham on its roster.

Here is the latest quarterback news from around the league:

  • The Cowboys are being cautious with Dak Prescott‘s injured shoulder, but good news continues to emerge on the sixth-year quarterback. After a strange update by the Cowboys’ Twitter account indicated Prescott would undergo a second MRI, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that exam took place Saturday and revealed progress. Dak’s ailing shoulder is healing on schedule (Twitter link). Prescott threw before the Cowboys’ second preseason game this weekend and experienced no pain in doing so, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video link). Prescott is likely to return to practice this week, and Rapoport notes playing in one preseason game is on the table. It does not appear, at this point, Cowboys fans should be concerned about Dak missing Week 1.
  • Kyle Shanahan said recently Josh Rosen was trending downward. The former top-10 pick, who is vying for the 49ers‘ third-string job, took a couple of steps back in recent practices, per Shanahan (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch). In Rosen’s preseason debut with the team, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 93 yards but threw an interception. When asked postgame about Shanahan’s critique, Rosen said he does not receive many practice reps in the first place, per Branch, who adds it is unlikely Rosen gained ground in his competition with Nate Sudfeld to make the team’s 53-man roster. Sudfeld did not play in the 49ers’ preseason opener. The 49ers keeping both, with the competition’s loser on the practice squad, is in play. But Rosen losing this battle would represent another setback in a pro career filled with them.
  • As you’ve surely heard in recent years, Tom Brady wants to play until age 45. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer recently signed a Buccaneers extension that runs through 2022, and longtime trainer Alex Guerrero said during an appearance on the Adam Schefter Podcast (via Boston.com) his client should not be expected to retire after this season. Guerrero said Brady playing beyond 2022 would not surprise. Brady has kept this door open, though the 44-year-old quarterback has not committed to playing beyond next season.

49ers Aiming To Retain Both Josh Rosen, Nate Sudfeld?

Several days after acquiring the No. 3 overall pick from the Dolphins, the 49ers signed longtime Eagles third-stringer Nate Sudfeld. San Francisco added Sudfeld to a quarterback room that already included Jimmy Garoppolo and Josh Rosen, with a rookie passer on the way. The team will likely attempt to retain all four QBs going into Week 1.

Garoppolo and Trey Lance will be the 49ers’ first- and second-string QBs, with the order depending on how quickly the Division I-FCS product progresses, while Rosen and Sudfeld vie for the third-string position. But the 49ers should be expected, per The Athletic’s David Lombardi, to keep all four quarterbacks this season (subscription required). That should be the aim, at least.

The loser of the Rosen-Sudfeld competition should be expected to land on San Francisco’s practice squad, Lombardi adds, rather than the team jettisoning this lower-profile battle’s runner-up for good. This would require no team claiming the QB3 competition’s loser on waivers, however. Both have practice squad experience, with Sudfeld beginning his Eagles tenure on their taxi squad and Rosen plummeting to that level — with thet Buccaneers — after active-roster stints with the Cardinals and Dolphins.

Both players are set to make less than $1MM this season, with Rosen tied to a non-guaranteed $850K salary and Sudfeld set to make $990K. The 49ers guaranteed Sudfeld $252K. Neither player is signed beyond 2021. While Sudfeld resurfaced as a controversial contributor in Philadelphia’s Week 17 game last season, Rosen has not taken a snap since Week 9 of the 2019 season. The 49ers signed the ex-UCLA top prospect off the Bucs’ practice squad late last year.

With Garoppolo likely set to depart San Francisco after the 2021 season, this year’s Rosen-Sudfeld competition could determine the team’s 2022 Lance backup. The 49ers let former third-round pick C.J. Beathard walk in free agency and non-tendered RFA Nick Mullens. Garoppolo’s previous backups are now in Jacksonville and Philly, respectively.

Rosen spending the 2021 season under Kyle Shanahan would be interesting, given the low-quality situations the former No. 10 overall pick enjoyed in Arizona and Miami. Still just 24, Rosen profiles as an interesting developmental player — despite shaky in-game work to date. Sudfeld, 27, has a lower ceiling at this point, though he did serve as Nick Foles‘ backup during the 2017 and ’18 playoffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Cardinals Sign Josh Rosen

On this date in 2018, the Cardinals inked their quarterback of the future. At least, they thought that’s what they were getting when they signed No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen

The Cardinals’ quarterback search was an open secret, one that dragged for years. In 2017, they tried and failed to trade up for Patrick Mahomes – they settled for Haason Reddick at No. 13 instead. This time around, they didn’t want to walk out of the 2018 draft with “what-ifs,” so they vaulted up from No. 15 to No. 10 for Rosen, a promising young passer out of UCLA.

Most evaluators viewed Rosen as the most polished and most NFL-ready passer in the entire class. There was a lot to like, especially after the Hebrew Hammer threw for 59 touchdowns over the course of three college seasons. He also saved his best for last. As a junior, Rosen turned in the best TD/INT ratio of his career (26/10) and his best completion rate (62.5%).

Rosen’s talent was apparent – he didn’t have a cannon for an arm, but his technique and footwork were virtually flawless. He was also an all around bright kid, though some evaluators wondered if he was too brainy for his own good. Curiously, his own head coach was among the nay-sayers.

Because of fit, I would take Sam Darnold if I were the Cleveland Browns,” said Jim Mora. “I think that blue collar, gritty attitude, I think his teammates will love him, I think the city will love him. He’ll say the right things. He will come in and he will represent well. I think he kind of represents what Cleveland is. And if I was one of the New York teams, I would take Josh *snap* just like that. I think they will both be great in the pros.”

Later on, Mora backtracked, but only slightly. Ultimately, the Browns chose the brash confidence of Baker Mayfield over the “gritty attitude” of Sam Darnold. Today, the Browns are pretty happy with their decision.

Rosen went 3-10 as the Cardinals’ starter as a rookie, completing just 55.2% of his throws with 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. A deeper look at Rosen’s rookie stats and metrics don’t do him any favors, either. Rosen completed 55% of his throws and averaged just 5.8 yards per attempt. He also finished with a league-worst 26.1 Total QBR and Football Outsiders listed him as the league’s worst full-time quarterback.

Midway through the year, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy got the heave-ho. After the season, head coach Steve Wilks was sent packing. Ditto for Rosen – just one year after the Cardinals selected him, they drafted his replacement in Kyler Murray. Rosen hoped for a fresh start after he was traded to the Dolphins, but he floundered in his three starts.

In 2020, Rosen had a cup of coffee with the Bucs’ practice squad before being claimed by the Niners. Now, after being retained as an ERFA, Rosen is set to battle for his place on SF’s Week 1 roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

49ers To Bring Back Josh Rosen

The 49ers are set to bring back Josh Rosen (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). It won’t cost them much to retain the former first-round pick, who is tethered to the team as an exclusive rights free agent.

Rosen was cut by the Dolphins in early September and spent the bulk of the year on the Bucs’ practice squad. He has yet to impress as an NFL quarterback, though he has not been given the best of opportunities. The 2018 No. 10 overall pick struggled for the Cardinals — who ranked last in scoring and total offense in 2018 — and the Dolphins, who had perhaps the league’s worst roster in 2019. Rosen took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 2 and started the next three games that year, but Brian Flores didn’t really look back after giving him the hook.

The fourth quarterback selected in 2018’s five-QB first round, Rosen owns a career 54.8% completion rate and a ghastly 4.4 adjusted yards per attempt figure. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in 20 career games (16 starts).

Still, there’s no sense in the 49ers giving up on the one-time Bruins star. Rosen won’t turn 24 until February, and the 49ers have him on the cheap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Sign Josh Rosen Off Bucs’ P-Squad

Josh Rosen will return to the NFC West. In need of quarterback help, the 49ers are signing the former Cardinals first-round pick off the Buccaneers’ practice squad, Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report (via Twitter).

This will mean a return to a 53-man roster for Rosen, who has resided on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad throughout his third NFL season. The 2018 No. 10 overall pick will be in line to back up C.J. Beathard, who will replace an injured Nick Mullens in San Francisco’s starting lineup.

Rosen was interested in joining the 49ers earlier this year, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), but instead went to Tampa. At the time, the 49ers were fully staffed at quarterback. But injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Mullens created a need in San Francisco, and the former UCLA passer will return to California.

Beathard is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and Mullens is due for restricted free agency. The latter is facing Tommy John surgery after encountering elbow ligament damage Sunday. No longer attached to his rookie contract, Rosen is signed only through the end of this season. Though, he does not have enough service time to qualify for unrestricted free agency come March. The 49ers could get an extended look at Rosen if they tender him a 2021 contract in March.

Rosen’s NFL career veered well off track early. Landing with a Cardinals team that used two offensive coordinators and numerous offensive linemen in 2018, Rosen became the rare first-round quarterback replaced by another first-round passer the following year. Only the Cardinals and Baltimore Colts of the early 1980s have drafted QBs in consecutive first rounds over the past 40 years, and the Cards shipped Rosen to the Dolphins for a second-round pick after selecting Kyler Murray. Rosen, however, failed to earn much playing time over Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami. The Dolphins cut Rosen this summer; he has not played in 2020.

For his career, Rosen has a 54.8% completion rate and a 12-19 TD-INT ratio. He has averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt in 20 career games. But the ex-Bruins standout was viewed as a first-round passer ahead of his sophomore season. He ended up being the fourth quarterback chosen in 2018 but has been by far the worst of the five first-round QBs taken in 2018. Although, it can be argued the 23-year-old passer has run into circumstances that made success exceedingly difficult to attain thus far in his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.