A day that was always inevitable became reality Thursday:
Josh Rosen was named the Dolphins’ starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.
That’s according to a league source. The word came hours after Dolphins coach Brian Flores spoke to reporters, when he reiterated that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Dolphins starter “right now.”
Now lasted a few more hours. Flores decided on the switch after practice Thursday.
At the same time that seismic news was breaking, there was another significant revelation: the Dolphins claimed former first-round pick Taco Charlton off waivers.
The defensive end was cut Wednesday after demanding his release. He was displeased with his role on the team after the Cowboys made him a healthy scratch the first two weeks of the season.
Playing time should not be a problem in Miami. The Dolphins started Avery Moss at defensive end in Week 2.
The move gives the Dolphins six first-round picks on their roster: Charlton, Rosen, DeVante Parker, Christian Wilkins, Charles Harris and Robert Nkemdiche, who is on the physically unable to perform list. But Parker, Wilkins and Harris are the only ones drafted by Miami.
Charlton, a defensive end from the University of Michigan taken with the 28th pick in 2017, tweeted “free me” before deleting it Monday.
The Cowboys granted his wish, cutting him loose after failing to find a trade partner. The Dolphins were fortunate to land him. They were 13th in the waiver claim order, meaning 12 other teams had to pass on Charlton for him to end up in Miami.
He is quite cheap for the Dolphins, who only owe Charlton $2.5 million over the remaining two years of his rookie contract. They do have the rights to pick up his fifth-year option for the 2021 season.
NFL talent evaluators see Charlton as a low-risk, high-reward player for Miami who can play both linebacker and at the line of scrimmage. Maturity might be his biggest concern.
Back to the quarterback drama: Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft, split reps in practice this week with Fitzpatrick, who struggled during two blowout losses to begin the season.
While he played extensively for the Cardinals in 2018, Rosen on Sunday will start for the first time for the Dolphins, who gave up a second and fifth-round draft pick in a trade for him last April.
Rosen appeared in 13 games, starting 14, for Arizona last year. He completed just 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
That was not enough for the Cardinals to give him a second year, instead drafting Kyler Murray first overall and trading Rosen to the Dolphins draft weekend.
The Dolphins decided not to gift Rosen the job, but instead challenged him to beat out Fitzpatrick in training camp. He could not, but showed significant progress over the past month.
And after the Dolphins’ 0-2 start — in which they’ve had the league’s worst offense and have been outscored 102-10 — coach Brian Flores decided now is the time for a change.
Earlier Thursday, Flores said that Rosen will “be ready to go if we need him.”
Apparently, they do.
In two games with Miami, Fitzpatrick was the league’s lowest rated quarterback (39.9), but a lot of the offense’s issues were not his fault. The same offensive line that has gotten Fitzpatrick sacked more than once every 10 drop-backs will be the one trying to protect Rosen, who has thrown interceptions in both of Miami’s games this year, playing in garbage time.
Rosen on the year has completed 8 of 21 passes for 102 yards and two interceptions.