- Arizona had a huge draft asset in QB Josh Rosen, but the team struggled immensely when it came to trading him. Breaking down how this trade process could have been easier.
After months of mocking the draft, addressing rumors and watching player tape, the NFL draft is finally behind us. Kyler Murray is a Cardinal, Nick Bosa is a 49er, Quinnen Williams is a Jet and Josh Rosen is a Dolphin ... just like predicted, right? On this week’s episode of The MMQB NFL Podcast, hosts Albert Breer, Jenny Vrentas and Conor Orr discuss how Arizona completely bungeled Rosen’s trade, and how things might not be so great in the desert right now.
(Listen to the latest MMQB NFL Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Albert Breer: We’re gonna start guys with what we’ve been talking about for two months now, what seemed to be a foregone conclusion for a while. And I don’t just want to talk about Kyler Murray. I also want to talk about the run up to Kyle Murray, the handling of this situation and the valuation of the asset that was Josh Rosen. I don’t know guys—I look at this and I just think ... this thing's been botched for six to eight weeks now. And you know you hear people make excuses or give reasoning like ‘Kyler Murray could get hit by a bus’...
Jenny Vrentas: [Giants GM Dave] Gettleman also used the ‘hit by a bus.’ I think that seems to be a very popular analogy.
Conor Orr: Why are they all so afraid of this?
Breer: So [the Cardinals think they have] to hold on to Josh Rosen until the very last minute ... maybe it’s me but I look back in history and see the Redskins traded for that [Robert Griffin III] pick like in March, right? The Rams traded for the Goff pick way ahead of time. The Eagles traded for the Wentz pick way ahead of time. Why is this suddenly an issue? Why is it suddenly a problem? It’s just simple logic—if you put Josh Rosen on the block in March or [the team] did a better job of shopping him at the combine, at that point, not only is Dwayne Haskins not a Redskin. Case Keenum is not a Redskin yet. Joe Flacco is not a Bronco. Daniel Jones isn’t a Giant. By putting him on the block while the draft was going on, the Cardinals are basically asking these teams, ‘Oh yeah just throw away all these months of research you did on the quarterbacks, throw away all that work you did and come in and make us an offer.’ It just makes no sense. Like why would you ... why in the world would you think that that was the best way to get the most out of this asset. It just doesn't make any sense to me.
Orr: I like how general managers are sort of painted as these wheelers and dealers, but anybody with experience in an environment like this outside of football could probably handle that situation better than the Cardinals. It’s about maximizing assets. Like I don’t understand how how this happened. To say that you didn’t know that he was your guy—Kyler Murray—until the day of the draft is complete B.S.
Breer: Here’s the thing—think about what you're getting with Josh Rosen! Miami stole him! Six million dollars over the next three years! Arizona’s already paid the bonus. You have two million per year the next three years. You got him for less than a first-round pick which means if it doesn’t work out you just draft another [quarterback] next year or the year after that. And this is a kid who was the tenth pick last year despite the concussion issue he had at UCLA despite the personality issue that everybody talked about. And he was seen as a prodigy from the time he was a true freshman there. What am I missing?
Vrentas: Here’s one problem that I have with this strategy, aside from what you guys have mentioned. At the combine was when we first started hearing the Murray to the Cardinals, and I think the reason that got out was because other teams knew that the Cardinals were going to shop Rosen. So I do think there were preliminary conversations going on. There were definitely feelers put out. Now you know [Robert] Klemko’s story has the agent being surprised by Keim really opening things up the day of the draft hours before. And so that’s when you know, per that account, he was in earnest. But I do think there were feelers going out.
My thinking is that the price wasn’t what they wanted, and he kept just kind of dilly-dallying around because he wasn’t hearing the price that he wanted. But my biggest issue is perhaps one reason that the price isn’t what [they] wanted is the stuff that was coming out of the Cardinals’ very building and anyone you talked to you about Rosen potentially being on the block and the Cardinals going with Murray—they all had heard things like Rosen's not a great team guy and Rosen is not well liked in the locker room... That's only coming from one place. First of all, that’s not coming from Kingsbury because he was newly hired and he wasn't there last year. So it's coming from the Cardinals front office that was there last year. So how can you expect to get the maximum back on your asset when you're under the table trashing the guy which clearly had to be what happened. How did coaches from other teams have that perception of Rosen? They may have had a perception of him from their pre-draft interview if they did meet with them. But beyond that, how would they know what happened in Arizona last year if Arizona wasn't saying that, so they needed to have a better story for wanting to move him if you wanted to maximize the value. And I think because they screwed that up they were hearing only a second- or third-round pick, and they thought, maybe if we play things out maybe things will change—I don't know what they thought would change—but I really think that that was how it unfolded.
Orr: It was just it was like watching a lead balloon drop on draft day. The only thing I could possibly fathom is that maybe Washington or the Giants misses out on the one person that they wanted and all of a sudden the price spikes back up or something. But from the beginning, I mean, everything that we just said ... I don’t know. I can't believe it. There was no strategy. There was no strategy!
Breer: And the crazy thing is—I talked to [Dolphins GM] Chris Grier on Saturday night, and he didn't hear from the Cardinals all day. Then they let like the half the second round pass. So Chris has a chance to trade down 14 spots and devalue the pick that’s going back to Arizona instead of demanding the No. 48 pick. OK, now what’s Greer doing? Well Greer’s turning around getting himself a second-round pick for next year and knocking that draft slot down 14 spots. Now maybe Andy Isabella would’ve been the pick at 48, I don’t know. Even after they put him on the block it’s just—I mean, look, again, the way I looked at this, the way I looked at Josh Rosen, even if you had a personality issue, like there were teams that did that weren’t wild about him coming out last year. Those teams would still look at him because there’s great value now.
Vrentas: Anything lower than a tenth pick would be a bargain, right? If that's what he was drafted at last year.
Breer: It’s lower than tenth pick and you don't pay the bonus.
Vrentas: It’s a huge bargain.
Breer: Miami can still take Tua [Tagovailoa] next year. Miami can still take [Justin] Herbert next year. Miami can still take Trevor Lawrence in 2021. Miami looks brilliant here because they come out of this and it’s like, well we’re not married to the guy. We get a year to look at him in our building and if he’s the answer, we’re loaded with draft picks to help him out next year. And if not, whatever. We give up a second round pick to take a swing at the most important position. Again, the interesting thing about this is, if Kyler hits, none of it matters.
Orr: I still think a little of it matters.
Breer: Yeah, I guess it would be like a good player too that we'd be playing with him, but we’re not going to remember that if Kyle hits.
Orr: In our community Facebook group there's a marketplace where you can sell used items. I'm in the market for a basement couch, and so I look at this woman's page and the sofa is ripped. You can see a giant hole, you can see the stuffing in it, but she said there’s a lot of love left in this couch. That person did a better job selling a piece-of-trash sofa than the Cardinals did in one sentence than the Cardinals did in three months of trying to get rid of Josh Rosen. Like how? How could you screw this up this bad? How? And you’re right—maybe Kyler Murray hits and it doesn’t matter. But then also if you’re any other player in that organization, you’re looking over your shoulder saying, ‘O.K. this Kliff Kingsbury thing is taking over, and they’re getting Kliff guys in here, what the hell are they going to say about me on my way out? How are they going to treat me on my way out?
Breer: What’s so interesting about that is—I remember listening to Urban Meyer, I think this was last week, might have been on the radio or something, and somebody asked him, “What’s the best advice that you could give any new coach going into a new job?” And he said, “The best advice I can give any new coach is do not treat the people in the building as if they’re someone else's people. The worst thing you can do is walk into a place and just be waiting for your guys to get there. I heard him say that and I was thinking, well, that's why he won a national championship in Year 2 at Florida and Year 3 at Ohio State, because all of those guys, he made an investment in them. And so, that's the other part of it. [The team can’t have] Kliff’s guys—no. Make it work. I hadn’t even thought of that, but the Rosen thing maybe puts a dividing line, too.
Vrentas: That’s the other thing—you hear about how close he is with Larry Fitzgerald, and in Klemko’s story he reported that they talked almost every day. It's interesting, right? The guys in the lcocker room who were close to Rosen see how he was treated. And you hear other reports, Patrick Peterson was frsutrated with something that someone in the organization said to him. I think the Arizona Republic reported that. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of good vibes coming out of Arizona right now.
Orr: Part the Red Sea, baby!
Question or comment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.