Josh Rosen for a second-round pick, any second-round pick? No, bad idea.
The Miami Dolphins are so, so disappointing.
The Dolphins think they scored some sort of coup on Friday night by answering the Arizona Cardinals’ call to trade Rosen for Miami’s 48th overall selection by trading down when they were on the clock at 48. And in trading down with New Orleans, the Dolphins went from No. 14 in the second round to No. 30 and also picked up another second-round pick next year.
Let me say this clearly: The Dolphins trading down with New Orleans and picking up, among other things, the Saints’ second-round pick next year was great work by general manager Chris Grier and his personnel department. Outstanding.
But that moment turned bittersweet in my eyes when the Dolphins minutes later used their newly acquired 2019 second-rounder to trade for Rosen.
And this makes no sense on multiple levels.
Because Josh Rosen is damaged goods. He’s not exactly a clunker on the lot that should come in a bargain sale. But he’s the dealer’s demonstrator that was driven hard for a year as a fleet vehicle and then sold as if new.
Except those cars are not new. And Rosen is not new.
He’s a pretty well known commodity. He’s someone else’s discard.
And now he’s some sort of hope for the Dolphins that comes because Miami gave up a premium draft pick?
I remind you the Dolphins studied Rosen before the 2018 draft and decided he wasn’t their type of guy because things about him bothered them. That’s not my analysis. A highly placed team source last April texted, “Couldn’t get comfortable with Josh.”
And one year later -- after failing in Arizona to the point that team used another first-round pick to replace him -- he’s Miami’s franchise quarterback?
Maybe you’re fine with that. Maybe you believe Rosen can be a great reclamation project and the Dolphins will show the entire NFL how much smarter they are than everyone else who didn’t want Rosen -- including the Cardinals.
But my experience is the Dolphins usually don’t know more than the entire rest of the league.
This would feel different if the trade was for a third-rounder. Because while second-round picks often become starters, the chances dip dramatically for third rounders. So the Dolphins probably gave up a starter in exchange for taking a flier on Rosen.
It would have been so much better if Grier had put his boot on Arizona general manager Steve Keim’s neck and not agreed to give up a second-rounder.
After all, what leverage did the Cardinals have?
Did they threaten to keep Rosen? Did they tell Grier they would bring him to their mandatory minicamp to share a locker room with first overall selection Kyler Murray?
“If you don’t give up a second, we’ll be happy to have division in our locker room.”
Seriously? Nobody believes the Cardinals would do that for the sake of their locker room.
It would have been awesome for Grier to say something akin to, “We’ll give you a third-rounder or we’ll talk to you just before your minicamp.”
But Grier and the Dolphins bowed.
And the crazy thing about this is there seemed to be no pressure to do so. Because no other team is known to have been trying to get Rosen in the second round. And if the Dolphins had declined to do so, gambling on not getting Rosen at all, they would have lost nothing by failing to get him.
This is where I remind you the Dolphins plan this offseason was to tank in 2019 and set themselves up for 2020 -- including getting a great QB early in that draft.
There was no pressure to abandon that plan.
The fan base wasn’t in revolt about tanking.
Ownership wasn’t applying pressure. Stephen Ross gave his approval for tanking, even saying he is totally fine with rebuilding (stinking) this year. He even asked reporters to call him out if he seemed to lose patience in carrying out that plan.
And, finally, the Dolphins are undefeated since starting their tank plan.
So why panic? Why abandon the plan?
But despite being under no pressure, despite having purged their roster of starters and stars during free agency, and with no exigent need to change directions, the Dolphins lost their way.
Now Rosen isn’t just part of the mix. He’s the presumptive franchise quarterback. That’s what comes with being traded for a second-round pick.
“Opportunity to add competition and talent at the position,” Grier said, summarizing the reason for the deal.
All that, by the way, is simple mechanics.
Whatever you think of Miami’s detour from the rebuild would be fodder when, you know, actual performance comes into play.
And this is where its going to get interesting. Because Rosen is by all accounts a gifted, talented thrower of the football. He has every tool to be very, very good.
But multiple scouts and NFL people who have met him, dealt with him, interacted with him, left that experience feeling something is simply not right.
They point to him not being a leader.
Not being relatable.
Not being a player other players rally around.
That is troubling for a quarterback. And this should be troubling for the Dolphins because it sounds like they just added Jay Cutler all over again. So it’s curious that the Dolphins would be interested in such a player.
On Thursday the team drafted Christian Wilkins in the first round. And this is what Wilkins said about being drafted by Miami:
“This is just what I’ve been dreaming about my whole life and what I’ve been working towards,” he said, “and I just feel like I’m ready for it. I’m so excited and honored and blessed to be in this position.”
That’s the kind of player I thought the Dolphins wanted. Ross, in announcing a new direction for the Dolphins, said the team was going to add a certain type of player.
“As you’ve seen with some of the recent players we brought in, it’s about winning and loving football,” Ross said. “That’s what this organization is going to be.”
Interesting. Because now Rosen is Ross’s quarterback. And Rosen is known for many things, among them this quote:
“Tons of players needed this game, needed the money, played it out of obligation and burned out,” Rosen told ESPN last year. “I don’t need it and still I give everything to it.”