The Redskins' interest in Josh Rosen has become the story coming out of the NFL Combine, and while a trade is still more of a possibility than a likelihood (nevermind a done deal) there is real substance as to why Washington and Rosen are being linked.
The Redskins are interested in a lot of quarterbacks, but Rosen is clearly one of, if not the best options. He is beyond affordable as the Cardinals are responsible for his signing bonus, and his base salary and other bonus money as the former 10th overall pick combine to be not very high. In fact Rosen would cost the Redskins just $1,279,898 in 2019. He's slated to cost $2,079,796 the following season and then still has another year at $2,879,694 before he’d either be extended or on his fifth-year option at just over $17 million.
For a team as cash-strapped as Washington, a cheap quarterback who may actually be good would feel like a gift from a higher power.
Quarterbacks aren't good and cheap. We still don’t know if Rosen is good, but he’s a multi-year solution worthy of exploring to find out. He’d have incredible mentors in Smith and Colt McCoy, who he would have to beat out for the starting job, but if it’s even close he would certainly get the nod.
Of course, the Redskins have to give up something to get him and this is where this gets fun. The Jaguars have reportedly already decided on Nick Foles, leaving the Giants, Dolphins and Broncos in the mix for a QB. All three of the other teams have higher picks than Washington, which could be advantageous or a hindrance depending on how aggressively they approach trade talks.
If all parties offer the same package of picks, then clearly Arizona would rank Washington’s offer last because the other teams sit higher in each round (presuming they’ve kept their picks) than the Redskins. However, those teams also have better opportunities to take QB’s in this year’s first round, meaning they might not be interested at all.
Sources indicated there would be some hesitancy to part with the 15th pick in April. The Redskins need players at too many positions and there could be some REALLY good players available in a loaded defensive draft. However, if push comes to shove and they essentially would be spending the 15th pick on a quarterback they really like -- albeit with one year less than usual of team control on a first-round pick -- I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t do it.
For whatever reason, the price of a second and third-round pick in this year’s draft has consistently been thrown around in the “who says no?” hypotheticals. I think if that were the actual price and Arizona was ready to move, Josh Rosen would be an unofficial Redskin today and an actual one on the first day of the league year.
Rosen’s attitude rubbed some people the wrong way during the draft process last year, but I don’t think the Redskins brass was among those people. To paraphrase one league source about Rosen, “stars are assholes. What do you want me to say?” This is undoubtedly true, but can a younger player who carries himself with supreme confidence earn the respect needed to be a leader, nevertheless in a locker room that just experienced the leadership of Alex Smith?
Another league source with connections to both Arizona and UCLA, where Rosen was a multi-year starter, said his teammates absolutely love him. The Redskins also have their own connections to the Cardinals to find out more.
Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell and new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury know each other and Washington pro personnel director Alex Santos played at NC State starting the year after Cardinals GM Steve Keim’s Wolfpack career ended. The two know each other well and have for two decades. Needless to say, Washington will have a great idea of what Arizona is doing and they should have reliable ways to understand how he handled a tumultuous rookie season. They also happen to have Rosen’s former teammate Fabian Moreau in the building if they have questions about his leadership.
Ultimately, this is still off in the distance. The Cardinals have to open the bidding. The Redskins would have to win the bidding.
However, for a team in arguably the worst quarterback situation in the history of the league through no fault of their own, Rosen represents a lifeline nobody expected to be there. Of course they’re interested. Time will tell just how much they’re willing to pay in assets to get a talented quarterback they’d only have to pay a relatively minimal amount of money.