Dolphins fans will need to wait until training camp in late July, but South Florida reporters will get their first chance to watch quarterback Josh Rosen throw on the team’s practice field on Tuesday when the second of Miami’s nine OTA practices is opened to the media.
And I can’t recall any Dolphin quarterback addition in the past decade – since the Chad Pennington pickup in 2008 – generating such widespread praise among analysts and league evaluators.
One longtime NFL front office executive told me recently that the Rosen trade “is the best thing the Dolphins have done in years. This was a steal to get him for [the 62nd pick and a fifth-rounder]. I love the guy. He has all the qualities you want. And [Dolphins quarterbacks coach] Jim Caldwell will take him to the next level. He can take you to the playoffs and deep in the playoffs if there’s enough talent around him.”
This executive told me years ago that he thought Ryan Tannehill would never amount to anything more than an average quarterback.
“Rosen is head and shoulders better than Tannehill,” the executive said. “He was a quarterback since Day One. With Tannehill, you were trying to make him a quarterback.”
Meanwhile, more reaction on the Rosen trade continues to pour in:
▪ NFL Network analyst and former NFL player Bucky Brooks to FS-1’s Colin Cowherd: “The Miami Dolphins might have stumbled into their version of Brett Favre. Years ago, [former Packers executive] Ron Wolf made a trade with the Atlanta Falcons to get Brett Favre. The Dolphins got a value pick, a guy that was 10th overall [in 2018 and] they got him for nothing - a second-round pick. You talk about chances of making it [as a second-round pick], 40 percent.
“They aren’t paying him anything. The guy has talent. In Miami, which is going to be a smart offensive system, I can see Josh Rosen playing well. If they hit on Josh Rosen, it frees them up to do so many other things building up their roster.”
▪ ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck: “In many ways, it was a no-brainer move for the Dolphins. A year ago he was in the discussion to be the No. 1 overall pick. All he did between that point and now is play a little bit for Arizona and have some good tape and bad tape. We’ve seen some good tape. He can make them competitive and he may be the long-term answer for them.”
▪ Former NFL quarterback and ex-ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, on The Rich Eisen Show on Sirius XM: “The fit is perfect. That’s what I texted Josh when it happened. I was like, ‘Dude, great fit. It hurts now but you will be thankful for this. You are going to an academic system.’
“And that’s what Josh needs is an academic approach to football -- highly intellectual, [a system with] a lot of burden put on the quarterback. High level of sophistication in both scheme and training. That’s what will bring the most out of him. Josh Rosen needs to be challenged. He needs every single day to feel everyone is challenging him.
“He’s Aaron Rodgers. He’s basically an Aaron Rodgers clone in how they demand excellence from everybody and it brings more out of them when you put that burden on him. And that’s what the Patriot Way is and that’s what they’re bringing to Miami.
“Plus Jim Caldwell has a track record of dealing with all kinds of academic type quarterbacks. Maybe the most cerebral one of all time in Peyton Manning. It’s a brilliant fit for Josh.”
▪ ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay: “He would be ahead of all the quarterbacks in this draft, looking at my grades for Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock.”
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard signed his five-year, $76 million extension before Monday’s OTA practice.
And according to a copy of the contract obtained by The Miami Herald on Monday morning, it includes a $7 million signing bonus and a $7 million roster bonus.
So even though Howard’s 2019 base salary remains $1.3 million, he will pocket $15.3 million this season.
He’s in line to make $11.9 million in 2020, $12.1 million in 2021, $12.9 million in 2022, $12 million in 2023 and $12.2 million in 2024. He has $500,000 roster bonuses the final three years of the extension for being on the game day roster as well as modest offseason roster bonuses.
Howard is set to make $46 million in guaranteed money, but the final two years of the extension are not guaranteed, which is typical for longterm NFL deals. The contract is the biggest awarded to an NFL cornerback and he’s now under contract through 2024.
▪ A photo posted by safety Reshad Jones on his Instagram account suggested he was working out on his own on Monday while the Dolphins were holding an OTA practice.
GM Chris Grier has said Jones hasn’t asked for a trade and he expects Jones to be on the roster this season. But Brian Flores declined to answer definitively last month when asked if Jones wants to be traded.
▪ The Dolphins, by league rule, are opening three of the nine OTA practices to reporters. Monday’s session was closed.
Here’s my Monday piece with lots of UM nuggets.
Here’s my Monday piece on Erik Spoelstra picking the brain of a successful college coach as he mulls changes to the Heat’s offensive approach.