As buzz builds the Arizona Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray No. 1 overall, the Washington Redskins and Josh Rosen look like a match.
The Arizona Cardinals made a significant investment in a young quarterback last year, drafting Josh Rosen No. 10 overall. But there’s increasing buzz they will take Kyler Murray No. 1 overall this April, and of course trade Rosen after one dismal season surrounded by a general lack of talent.
Plenty of teams will be willing to trade for Rosen, and work with him as their immediate starting quarterback or groom him to succeed an older incumbent. According to Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst.com the Washington Redskins have spoken openly during combine week about trading for Rosen, should he be available of course.
The Redskins are in a tough spot under center right now. Alex Smith suffered a severe leg injury last season, which is all but sure to sideline him for the 2019 season and has put his career in jeopardy. But he carries cap hits of $20.4 million this year and $21.4 million in 2020, with his $16 million base salary for 2020 becoming guaranteed on March 17 this year, before the dead money hit and cap savings attached to releasing him becomes more neutral. Shy of Smith announcing his retirement, the Redskins are left in wait-and-see mode with a narrow set of options to replace him.
The Redskins have spoken highly of Colt McCoy as their possible starting quarterback in 2019, and they may draft a quarterback themselves in April (perhaps with the 15th overall pick). A dip into the free agent market is possible, but surely limited to someone like Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater on a cheap, short-term deal. But fortune may smile on Washington, if Rosen indeed winds up on the trade block.
When he was drafted last year, the Cardinals paid Rosen a $10.878 million signing bonus with a $480,000 base salary for last season. That means he’s only due $6.239 million over the next three seasons, with a fifth-year option for 2022 that would become the quarterback transition tag number for 2021 since he was top-10 pick. By 2021, Smith’s $31 million in injury guarantees will be off Washington’s books.
Washington should have their eye on a quarterback of the future, as well as someone to more urgently take Smith’s place in 2019. Finding those answers in one of this year’s quarterback prospects is possible, but Rosen might be the top quarterback in this draft class if he was in it. He’ll also come cheaper overall, which is something that has to be taken into account by the Redskins.