Mike Fanelli | February 14th, 2019
Recently former Oklahoma quarterback and Oakland A’s first-round draft pick, Kyler Murray, announced on Twitter that he was “firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback”. With Murray 100% committed to playing in the NFL, his draft stock should start to rise.
New Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who coached Murray in 2015 at Texas Tech, made headway back in October of 2018, saying, “I’d take him with the first pick of the draft if I could”. Since the Cardinals have the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft, will Kingsbury follow through on his comment?
If speculation wasn’t enough to get the rumor mill turning, both Murray and Kingsbury have the same agent; Erick Burkhardt. To add even more fuel to the fire, ESPN’s College GameDay Kirk Herbstreit said, “it wouldn’t shock me” if Kingsbury drafts Murray and trades last year’s first-round pick, Josh Rosen.
When all the speculation and questions around Murray and Rosen, the Cardinals’ President Michael Bidwill came out in support of Rosen, saying, “There’s always a lot of speculation that turns out to not be true. But moving forward, we’re going to continue to build this team and build around the foundation that we have.” While this doesn’t completely shut down the Murray rumors, it suggests that the team is behind Rosen. To double down on this, Kingsbury came out in support of Rosen as well.
Should the Cardinals decide to move on from Rosen, they will incur about $8.2 million dollars in dead money if they trade him before June 1st. However, the Cardinals are projected to have about $42 million dollars in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, so cap space isn’t an issue for them.
With all that being said, what fun would it be not wondering what could happen? It’s the NFL offseason, this is exactly what it’s all about. Here are five possible, though unlikely, moves the Cardinals could make should they decide to trade Rosen.
Trade 1: Rosen to the New York Giants for pick #6.
Last year the Giants had to make a choice between Saquon Barkley and one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class. Barkley won the offensive rookie of the year award and the Giants are clearly happy with their selection. However, Eli Manning isn’t getting younger and may retire this offseason. If the Giants graded Rosen higher than any of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, they should consider trading their first round pick for Rosen and solving their quarterback of the future problem.
If the Cardinals want to give Murray a chance to succeed they will need to improve the offense around him. Not only does that mean tailor the offense to his skill set, but also add playmakers and offensive lineman. With the sixth overall pick, the Cardinals would likely have their choice of the top playmaker or top offensive lineman, giving Murray a day one impact player on offense.
Trade 2: Rosen to the Washington Redskins for picks #15, #76, #96.
In hindsight, the Redskins made the wrong move giving Alex Smith all that guaranteed money in his contract extension. Because of his leg injury, Smith isn’t likely to play in 2019, if ever again. If by some chance Smith returns for the 2020 season, he will be 36 years old and the Redskins could release him, saving $4.8 million dollars. If the Redskins are serious about trading up to draft a quarterback, they should offer up their first-round pick and both their third round picks and grab Rosen instead.
Let’s say the Cardinals rather net themselves multiple picks for Rosen instead of just one. This way they could do a better job plugging all the holes they have on their roster. At pick 15, the Cardinals could still get one of the top offensive lineman or wide receivers in the draft. If they make this trade, the Cardinals will have seven picks in the top 103 selections.
Trade 3: Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for Xavien Howard, pick #48.
Reportedly, the Dolphins would have taken Rosen with their first-round pick (#11 overall) last year had he slid that far. They were the biggest reason why the Cardinals traded up from 15th overall to 10th to grab Rosen. Rumor is the Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross wants to tank this season in order to grab Tua Tagovailoa early in the 2020 draft, but would he still prefer that option if Rosen became available?
The signing of Robert Alford shouldn’t keep the Cardinals from adding a cornerback opposite of Patrick Peterson. Alford will turn 31 years old during the 2019 season and his contract has an easy out in it for next offseason. The Dolphins have listened to trade offers for Howard, who is coming off a career year, as he will be a free agent next offseason and the team is hesitant to give him a long term deal. With the 48th overall pick, the Cardinals could add a solid wide receiver to pair with Christian Kirk.
Trade 4: Rosen to the New Orleans Saints for Andrus Peat, pick #62, 2020 first round pick.
Back in the preseason, the Saints traded their third-round pick for Teddy Bridgewater. They did that as insurance in case Drew Brees got hurt but also with hopes of resigning him long term. However, Bridgewater is expected to be heavy pursued in free agency and may leave for a starting gig somewhere else. If that is the case, the Saints should kick the tires on trading for Rosen. Brees only has a few years left and there isn’t a long term replacement on the roster. Learning from Brees for a year or two would go a long way for Rosen’s long term success
With this package, the Cardinals could really set themselves up for the 2020 season. Peat is a starting caliber guard (something the Cardinals don’t have on the roster) and the two draft picks would help plug their holes, not only this offseason but next offseason as well. With pick 62 the Cardinals could add another offensive lineman or a wide receiver. While the 2020 first round pick is likely to be in the ’20s, but first round draft picks are very valuable in trades. Maybe the Cardinals can flip it for Antonio Brown?
Trade 5: Rosen to the New England Patriots for picks #32, #56, #64.
Before Twitter melts down, this trade is the least likely of the already very unlike trades to happen. In large part because Tom Brady wouldn’t be very happy about the Patriots trading their first three picks for his successor. However, the Patriots do have six picks in the top 101 selections and 10 total. Should Rosen became available, the Patriots need to consider using some of their draft capital to acquire him. If the Patriots get Rosen, their dynasty could live on even when Brady retires.
Trading Rosen out of the conference might be an appealing option knowing in case the deal blows up in their face, they would only have to face Rosen once every eight years. With this trade, the Cardinals would have six picks in the top 65 selections. With that kind of ammunition, they could put together a good young team, completely built around Murray’s strengths. Again, this trade won’t happen but if it did, it could reshape the future of both teams and the league for the next decade.
Questions and comments?