Written by Chris Kubala
The NFL is continuing to try and steam forward through their offseason as they prepare for what they hope is a regular 2020 schedule. We’ve seen free agency and the NFL Draft come and go already. Undrafted free agents have signed with teams in an effort to further their playing careers and teams are in the early stages of their virtual activities to start working with players in preparation for a hopeful return to the field for on-field activities in the coming weeks. With that said, there are still some ripples that could have impact on the depth charts of teams at this stage of the offseason depending on what unfolds.
The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of one of those ripple situations in their quarterback room. Miami has three quarterbacks in different stages of their respective careers on the roster right now and there is some uncertainty as to what unfolds. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the veteran gunslinger who is the starter for the time being. He was 5-8 as the starter last year and helped Miami play much better in the second half of the season. Fitzpatrick threw for 3,529 yards with 20 touchdowns against 13 interceptions last year. In addition, he led the team with 243 yards and four scores on the ground. He’ll turn 38 in November however, and it’s clear that his time is limited. On the flip side, Tua Tagovailoa was taken with the fifth overall pick in the draft and he is the QB of the future, even after a major hip injury last season.
That means, in the middle, hanging in proverbial limbo, is Josh Rosen. The 23-year-old quarterback is entering his third year in the league but could potentially find himself on his third team as the Dolphins have received inquiries about his availability. As it stands, the Dolphins have no real interest in dealing the quarterback, according to Michael Girardi, and one has to wonder what their rationale at the moment is.
Rosen was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2018, taken with the 10th overall pick. He played in 14 games as a rookie, starting 13, and completed 55.2 percent of his throws for 2,278 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while getting sacked 45 times. Rosen did add 138 yards on the ground for a dismal Arizona team that finished the year 3-13. After Arizona selected Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, Rosen’s time with the team was limited. He was dealt to the Dolphins for Miami’s second-round pick in 2019 and a fifth-round selection in 2020. Rosen stepped into the starting role with Miami but flopped in his three starts with the team before giving way to Fitzpatrick. His playing time was limited the rest of the season as he played sparingly in three other contests. He completed 58 of 109 passes for 567 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.
The pathway for Rosen to see any substantial playing time is rather murky at this stage of things. It’s clear that Fitzpatrick is going to be the likely starter when the season begins. If Miami struggles and the coaching staff wants to turn the page, it makes sense that they would look at Tagovailoa. Based on that, barring an injury or some unforeseen move, there doesn’t seem to be a viable way that Rosen would see action in any meaningful capacity. It’s also unclear how much faith Miami has in a guy that is just 3-13 as a starting quarterback in the NFL, much less one that completes only 54.8 percent of his throws with more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (12) in his career.
That means the only logical explanation is that the Dolphins have set a higher price tag for acquiring Rosen than teams have been willing to pay. While Rosen does come with upside as far as age (he’s two months younger than Joe Burrow) and affordability (he’s got two more years on his rookie deal at $2.1 million in 2020 and $3 million in 2021 before a potential fifth-year option), the fact remains that you have to prove yourself on the field in order to command a higher price tag. If that’s the factor, that the Dolphins have a higher price in mind, it could be difficult to move him.
As it stands, it may take an injury situation to develop to potentially see a team meet the potential asking price for Miami to pull the trigger. Then again, with guys like Cam Newton still available on the free agent market, one has to wonder if teams would look at a proven veteran with a spotty injury history over a relatively unproven commodity that has youth and financial considerations on his side. For now, Rosen has to bide his time and try to continue his development, something that GM Chris Grier said was evident last season:
"[Rosen is] a young player that has some talent. For us going forward knowing that we were going to have a lot of picks, and money available in the future, it made sense for us to make that trade. We're happy we made it. Josh has made huge strides like [coach] Brian [Flores] has talked about. It's been fun watching him grow. Nobody got to see it, but he did a tremendous job growing."
For now, Rosen is in a holding pattern. How things unfold from here remains to be seen but it will be interesting to see what’s next.