Josh Rosen

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets

Having ended their veteran quarterback search with a Ryan Fitzpatrick agreement, after pursuing Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, the Dolphins continue to embark on a rebuilding track. In fact, the word “tanking” came up during one of the team’s head coach interviews, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Chris Grier, as could be expected, denied the team will use 2019 to tank.

Often one of the most active teams during free agency, the Dolphins this year have parted ways with starters Ryan Tannehill, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, Andre Branch and Danny Amendola. They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk. This leads Salguero to the notion the Dolphins are indeed tanking with the prospect of being in best position to land a high 2020 draft pick and have cap space when that league year begins. As of now, early projections have the Dolphins at $107MM in 2020 cap space — second in the league behind the Cowboys. And with Dallas set to extend several young talents, Miami looks poised to lead that pack. Fitzpatrick has made at least eight starts in a season nine times; his teams finished with a winning record in one of those seasons. Sunday’s move lends further credence the Dolphins are targeting the 2020 quarterback class.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rob Gronkowski has not given the Patriots his decision on if he will continue his career in 2019, but if the future Hall of Famer wants an extension, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes this cannot happen until August 30 — a year after his previous contract adjustment, per an NFL rule. Long dissatisfied with a contract he agreed to in 2012, Gronkowski would be entering the final year of that deal if he returned for 2019. The Patriots could approach Gronk about a pay cut, however, at any point this offseason, per Volin. Gronkowski is due a $10MM salary and to count $11.86MM on the Patriots’ cap. The latest word on Gronk’s status is a return for a 10th season is more likely than a retirement.
  • Conversely, a Tom Brady extension can happen at any point this offseason. Since the Patriots did not adjust their quarterback’s cap number via the unmet incentives last year, Volin notes they can extend his contract before the 12-month mark from when the team included those incentives. Brady’s deal appears likely to be adjusted, with the 41-year-old passer’s contract-year cap figure sitting at $27MM.
  • Dialogue about the trade that moved the Jets up to last year’s No. 3 overall pick began at the 2018 Senior Bowl, with Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger approaching Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds that January about a possible trade, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Christopher Johnson emphasized the Jets focus on quarterback scouting in 2017, primarily Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets targeted No. 3 overall because their sources indicated to them the Giants were zeroing in on Saquon Barkley, Cimini adds. Gang Green put its plan B into action a year ago today after Kirk Cousins spurned them.
  • The Dolphins are interested in acquiring a fullback, which marks a change from recent years. Specifically, they are exploring the addition of Michael Burton, per Salguero. Burton was Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-rated fullback last season but only played 49 snaps, not enough to qualify for full-time status. Only five fullbacks did meet those standards, illustrating this position’s scarcity on most teams. If not Burton, a four-year veteran who has played in Detroit and Chicago, Miami may target another UFA blocking back.
  • Prior to LaAdrian Waddle signing with the Bills, the Patriots conveyed interest in bringing him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats kept an open dialogue with their swing tackle but were not willing to match the Bills’ offer, Reiss adds.

Giants Interested In Josh Rosen; Latest On Eli Manning

The Giants are interested in trading for Cardinals’ QB Josh Rosen, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. However, they are unsure as to whether Arizona will actually make him available.

It is unclear exactly how acquiring Rosen would impact the status of Eli Manning, but both Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv and Graziano report that the current plan is to keep Manning in 2019, the last year of his present contract. We had been hearing that for some time, of course, but New York’s decision to trade Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns last night sparked a new wave of speculation that the team could also look to move on from Manning.

That speculation was fueled by the fact that Manning is due a $5MM roster bonus on Saturday — which the Giants could avoid if they cut Manning before that point — and the fact that the team is clearly embracing a full-blown rebuild. But Manning is the best option that New York has, and it’s not as though there is currently a long-term answer on the roster whose development is being hindered by Manning’s presence.

Big Blue did not select one of the best quarterbacks available in a loaded class last year, and the club may not take a first-round signal-caller this year. Although the Giants will do their due diligence on Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, they may have their eye on next year’s more heralded prospects.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have been heavily linked to Murray, and there have been plenty of rumors that the club would be willing to trade Rosen and make Murray the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Indeed, we heard a little over a week ago that Murray to the Cardinals was a “done deal.” That may or may not be true, but we recently learned that multiple teams have inquired on Rosen, and the Giants may be one of those teams.

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Teams Inquiring On Cardinals’ Josh Rosen

Multiple teams inquired about quarterback Josh Rosen’s availability at the combine last week, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com hears (Twitter links). However, the Cardinals have yet to give any indication that they are willing to move on from him. 

As Schefter notes, this doesn’t mean that the Cardinals will not shop Rosen at some point, but it is interesting that they have not responded to overtures so far. Lately, all signs have been pointing to the Cardinals using the No. 1 pick on quarterback Kyler Murray, but team brass could still be deciding between Murray and this year’s non-QB options.

The Redskins, for example, have considered making a run at Rosen, but they’re also thinking about drafting a signal caller of their own.

I think where we are at this point, and like I said earlier, if there’s a quarterback there that we like at 15, 9 out of 10 we’ll go that route,” exec Doug Williams said. “If it’s not somebody we like, we’ll go with Colt and if we got to go out and get a veteran to work with him until that time comes, that’s probably what we’ll do.”

Rosen, 22, went 3-10 as the Cardinals’ starter last year. He completed just 55.2% of his throws with 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions, but there were a myriad of issues with Arizona’s offense.

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Redskins Considering Josh Rosen Offer?

While the Cardinals were emphatic last month that Josh Rosen will be their quarterback of the future, plenty of smoke has emerged during Combine week of a Kyler Murray-Arizona fit.

That would make Rosen an attractive commodity, and one team is considering making a run at the 2018 first-round pick. The Redskins, per DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline (Twitter link) “have spoken openly” in Indianapolis about making a run at Rosen — if the Cardinals make him available.

Washington’s quarterback situation profiles as one of the most unique in years, with Alex Smith still on the team’s payroll (at a $20MM-plus 2019 cap figure) but possibly having thrown his last NFL pass. He is out for the 2019 season. The Redskins are open to the idea of Colt McCoy being their stopgap this season, and the idea of them spending big to bring in a veteran doesn’t appear likely.

They hold the No. 15 overall pick, and player personnel VP Doug Williams said if the organization likes a quarterback who is on the board at that point, that would be the way they would likely go about addressing this unusual situation.

I think where we are at this point, and like I said earlier, if there’s a quarterback there that we like at 15, 9 out of 10 we’ll go that route,” Williams said, via NBC Sports Washington. “If it’s not somebody we like, we’ll go with Colt and if we got to go out and get a veteran to work with him until that time comes, that’s probably what we’ll do.”

Williams, though, did not sound like a trade-up scenario was in the cards. The Cardinals landed Rosen via trade-up, and considering the circumstances, did not have to part with much draft capital to make that move to No. 10 last year. Rosen struggled as a rookie but was not dealt a great hand, with the Cardinals’ offensive line in shambles and OC Mike McCoy fired midway through the season.

Rosen would also help solve the franchise’s financial concerns. The Cards paid their current starter a $10.88MM signing bonus, which would leave another team on the hook for less than $7MM through 2021.

The 22-year-old signal-caller was the fourth quarterback taken last year. However, ex-Redskins GM Scot McCloughan does not rate any of this year’s quarterback prospects higher than him, via Robert Klemko of SI.com. McCloughan and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah place Rosen above both Murray and Dwayne Haskins, and the Redskins are unlikely to be in position to land either of those prospects at 15.

Kliff Kingsbury has been connected to Murray for years, having attempted to recruit him at Texas Tech and saying in advance of last year’s Texas Tech-Oklahoma game he would draft him No. 1 overall if he had the chance. And it appears the Combine has not done anything to cool off this connection.

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NFC Notes: Clark, Tate, Rosen, Alexander

The Seahawks started talking contract with star defensive end and free agent-to-be Frank Clark last month, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks will not let Clark get away. If the two sides cannot work out a long-term deal in the next couple of weeks, Seattle will put the franchise tag — valued at roughly $18MM for defensive ends — on the 25-year-old. That will at least buy them until July to come to terms on a multiyear pact, which could have a total value of up to $90MM. Clark, though, appears perfectly willing to play out the 2019 campaign on the one-year franchise tender, which would make him eligible for free agency again next year.

Let’s round up a few more items from the NFC:

  • It does not appear that the Eagles will re-sign Golden Tate before free agency opens next month, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk opines. Alper does not cite a source, but a recent tweet from Tate himself and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman‘s silence on the matter suggest that Tate will be looking for a new home soon. Tate has indicated he would like to be back in Philly, but given the Eagles’ tight salary cap situation, that could be a tall order, especially if Tate is still seekingJarvis Landry-type deal.
  • Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury continues to dismiss the speculation connecting Kyler Murray to Arizona. Many pundits believe Murray would thrive in Kingsbury’s offense, but Kingsbury insists that the team is committed to last year’s first-round pick, Josh Rosen (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets that team president Michael Bidwill is also adamant that his club will not pursue Murray (at least not with the No. 1 overall pick).
  • Budda Baker has functioned as the Cardinals‘ slot corner, but new DC Vance Joseph said that Baker will be moved back to his natural safety position in 2019 (Twitter link via Mike Jurecki of AZCardinals.com).
  • Despite the torn ACL that ended Kwon Alexander‘s season in October, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com believes Alexander will cash in, though it may not be with the Buccaneers. Laine says that Tampa Bay was not willing to pay $10MM per year for Alexander even before the ACL tear, though she believes that other teams will be happy to hit that figure. Given that Alexander appears to be progressing well in his recovery, Laine thinks his market will be robust (Twitter links).

Cardinals Won’t Trade Rosen, Draft Murray

The Oakland A’s expect Kyler Murray to give up on baseball in order to pursue his NFL dreams. The buzz in the football world is palpable, and speculation has built around a possible union between the Cardinals and the Oklahoma quarterback, with the Cards trading 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen. Such a scenario is “ludicrous” and “not happening,” a Cardinals source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has referred to Murray as a “freak” in the past and lauded his immense potential. Still, giving up on Rosen so soon in favor of a talented, but undersized, QB prospect, would be incredibly gutsy. You can never say never on anything – particularly when the Cardinals already went way outside of the box to hire Kingsbury – but the odds of this happening do feel unlikely.

The Cardinals have a number of needs to address on both sides of the ball and trading Rosen for pennies on the dollar to replace him with another rookie QB would not make a whole lot of sense. Instead, the Cardinals would probably be best served by going with another position with the No. 1 overall pick, or trading down in order to take care of multiple areas of need.

Rosen, 22 in February, finished out with a 3-10 record in 2018.

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NFC Notes: Thomas, Bradford, Eagles, Reid

The Seahawks have indeed fined safety Earl Thomas, who missed practice for non-injury reasons for the second consecutive week. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Seahawks — who were considering imposing a substantial fine on Thomas last Sunday — fined the star defender for missing practice and for “other things.” Rapoport adds that “communication should increase going forward,” but it is presently unclear as to whether he is referring to communication between Thomas and Seattle or between Seattle and other clubs who may want to trade for Thomas. We heard earlier today that the Steelers were interested in Thomas, but there has been no communication between Seattle and Pittsburgh at this point.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the Seahawks are still asking for a second-round pick for Thomas, and that the Chiefs remain interested (though Kansas City does not want to give up a second-rounder). The Cowboys, of course, offered a second-round pick to Seattle earlier this year, but the Seahawks wanted more from Dallas at the time since the two teams were set to play each other last week. Now that the Cowboys-Seahawks matchup has taken place, perhaps the Seahawks will be more willing to consider the Cowboys’ offer, but Rapoport indicates (video link) that the Seahawks want two second round picks in exchange for Thomas, which seems like an especially lofty asking price.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Sam Bradford is now the Cardinals‘ No. 3 quarterback, per Schefter, who says that going forward, rookie Josh Rosen will be the starter and will be backed up by Mike Glennon (Twitter link). That means that Bradford will generally be inactive on game days and will miss out on his active roster bonuses of $312,500 per game, a situation we explored in more detail last week.
  • Another tough blow for Rams outside linebacker Dominique Easley. Per the team’s official website, Easley, who has suffered three torn ACLs since 2011, may be heading for his fourth surgery in the last seven years. Head coach Sean McVay said that Easley, who converted to outside linebacker during training camp, is suffering complications from his previous injuries.
  • Prior to signing him a few days ago, the Panthers did not ask new safety Eric Reid about his anthem protests or his collusion case against the league, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. GM Marty Hurney said team ownership was not involved in the signing, and that it was a purely football move.
  • Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery will make his 2018 debut today, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Twitter). Rapoport (video link) reports that Jeffery’s status for this week was up in the air because of a virus that made him seriously ill, but that his shoulder is good to go.
  • As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, the Eagles have four prominent starters playing out the final year of their respective contracts: Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, and Brandon Graham. Even if the Eagles wait until after the 2019 season to give quarterback Carson Wentz what will surely be a massive extension, Philadelphia has to plan for that contract now, which means the club will have some difficult decisions to make with respect to its impending free agents. McLane posits that Hicks is the most likely of the above-named players to be retained, and he examines the futures of all four players in detail.
  • Jane Slater of the NFL Network reports that Cowboys WR Terrance Williams will be inactive today, and that the recently re-signed Brice Butler will be leaned upon more heavily as a result (Twitter link). Williams, the most expensive receiver on Dallas’ roster, may be facing a suspension stemming from his May arrest and recently missed practice, though that absence was reportedly an excused one and was unrelated to the possible suspension. Williams, though, has just two catches for 18 yards this season, and the team wants to give someone else a shot.

Breer’s Latest: Cardinals, Rosen, Dolphins, Chiefs, Kafka, Bears, Trubisky

The Cardinals finally made the decision to insert Josh Rosen into the game last week, giving the public their first look at the last of the ‘Big Four’ quarterbacks to make an appearance. All four of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Rosen are starters now, and Rosen was the last to see game action. The Cardinals’ plan had reportedly been to continue to start Sam Bradford moving forward, but he played so poorly that he forced Arizona’s hand.

Apparently for Cardinals coaches, Rosen’s command of the huddle in his brief relief appearance last Sunday “was the final piece of the puzzle in deciding to the pull the trigger on the quarterback switch” reports Albert Breer of SI.com. Breer notes that Cardinals sources told him Rosen has “been outstanding of late in practice”, and it sounds like they have full confidence in the rookie signal caller. The tenth overall pick from UCLA will get his first start this Sunday at home against the Seahawks.

Here’s more from Breer’s latest column:

  • The Dolphins have shocked everyone with their 3-0 start, and Breer has identified at least one reason behind the unexpected strong first few weeks. “There was an effort from coach Adam Gase, EVP Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier to get faster” across the board. Breer points to the team’s offseason addition of speedsters Albert Wilson, Mike Gesicki, and Jerome Baker as evidence of the identity change.
  • Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka is a “name to keep an eye on” according to Breer in future coaching searches. Reid apparently assigned Kafka, then a quality control coach, to do one-on-one work with Patrick Mahomes last year, and thinks quite highly of him. Reid has an extensive coaching tree of former assistants, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kafka, a former quarterback under Reid in Philadelphia, become the next one.
  • Scouts are concerned that Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is too quick to tuck and run, and isn’t processing the field, according to Breer. Breer writes that “Trubisky seems to be making a single read, and running if it’s not there”, and that his processing ability had previously been seen as one of his biggest strengths coming out of college.

Cardinals To Start Josh Rosen

It’s Josh Rosen time. On Monday, Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks announced that Rosen will replace Sam Bradford as the team’s starting quarterback. 

This was the expected move after Rosen replaced Bradford late in the team’s 16-14 loss to the Bears. Bradford exited after throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Rosen, meanwhile, had a few good plays, but threw a costly interception with roughly one minute remaining in the game.

Rosen was less-than-perfect in his short NFL debut, but the Cardinals clearly needed to make a change after getting off to an abysmal start. The entire offense has sputtered through three games and the team has failed to fully utilize the talents of running back David Johnson. If Rosen can keep defenses honest, Johnson may finally have room to run.

Rosen, a UCLA product, threw for 59 touchdowns against 16 interceptions across three college seasons. In the spring, the Cardinals made him the No. 10 overall pick in the draft.

Four of this year’s five first-round QBs are now installed as starters with Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson as the odd man out.

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Latest On Josh Rosen, Sam Bradford

The Cardinals have limped out to an 0-2 start thanks in large part to an anemic offense led by veteran QB Sam Bradford. Bradford has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but he has thrown two picks and has compiled a 55.6 QB rating, while Arizona has amassed a grand total of six points.

That performance, of course, has led to increased speculation as to when rookie Josh Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft, will be inserted into the starting lineup. We learned last night that, even if Bradford struggles against the Bears this afternoon, Cardinals fans should not expect an in-game promotion for Rosen, and it sounds as if Arizona will wait at least a couple of weeks before deploying the UCLA product.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says the Cardinals are generally disjointed on offense, and while Bradford has not played well, the team does not believe he is solely to blame for the offense’s difficulties. As such, the club does not want to throw Rosen to the wolves and risk stunting his development until the offensive line and the skill position players start playing more cohesively. Plus, the Cardinals simply believe, after having watched Bradford and Rosen in preseason and in practices since the start of the regular season, Bradford still represents the team’s best chance to win at this juncture.

But Arizona does have some financial incentive to get Rosen in the lineup sooner rather than later. As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes, for each game that Bradford is active this season, he will earn a $312,500 bonus. So, if the Cardinals were to release or deactivate Bradford this week, they would save $4MM in potential roster bonuses, a number that obviously decreases with each game that Bradford is on the 46-man roster.

Schefter also offers his take on Rosen’s development. He says that Rosen has taken some first-team reps, and “those around him” believe he is making progress and will become the team’s starting QB in fairly short order. Of course, that could still mean that Rosen will have to wait several more weeks, just as Rapoport suggested.

 

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