There has been a lot made about Josh Rosen this offseason. No one is contending that Rosen is not the quarterback of the future, but there is definitely a line drawn between the crowd that believes Rosen is ONLY the QB of the future and the group that believes Rosen is the quarterback of the now.
John Buckley (welcome, John) wrote an article the other day explaining that we should “pump the brakes” a bit on giving Rosen the amount of hype that has been built around him. John gave some really valid points as to why starting Rosen right away might not be the best idea for the Arizona Cardinals. For me, though, many of those reasons are exactly why I would start Rosen right away.
There is no way I am willingly handing this job to Sam Bradford
Bradford could make up to $20 million this season with incentives, as John explained, but I don’t see this as a valid reason that he should be automatically granted the starting QB spot. I have always been a fan of competition and to simply write Rosen off for the starting job in his first year solely because he is a rookie or because so much money was given to Bradford is crazy to me. Yes, you paid Bradford a ton of money to come to Arizona. But the future lies with Rosen and there shouldn’t be a debate about that. Why not get him the extra reps now? The Bradford investment would end up being a poor one, but with his extensive injury history, it could end up being poor even if he is named the starter.
Playoffs? We talkin’ about playoffs?
I just don’t see it, folks. I don’t think the Cards have it in the cards (pun absolutely intended) to make the postseason in 2018-19. There are just too many holes on this roster to have me thinking they can make any sort of tangible run. Add in the fact that the Rams are improved and the 49ers could be much better and you have a season that looks like it might be a little rough.
Now, no one is saying they CAN’T make the playoffs. I just feel it is unlikely. So if you are in that mindset, why not give the rook the chance to show himself off and, maybe, make the playoffs with him at the helm?
John also mentioned guys like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff as recent young QBs who led their team to the playoffs in their second seasons. You know what both of them have in common? They were both starters as rookies and their teams went through the growing pains with them.
I have always been someone that believes that if you can get a QB to perform at a high level on their rookie contract, that is the best time to contend for a Super Bowl. Look at Russell Wilson. If that becomes the case, the team has a lot more cap flexibility to add dynamic pieces around the quarterback to make the push.
Why waste a year waiting for Rosen to get real in-game reps in his second season instead of his first?
The talent around him
Is the offensive talent around Rosen/Bradford the best this franchise has ever had? Of course not. It is, by all accounts, in the bottom half of the league in terms of talent level. But giving Rosen the opportunity to work with a couple of REALLY GOOD players with uncertain futures could be huge for his development.
We don’t know what the future holds for Larry Fitzgerald. Each offseason for the past handful of years, we have waited with bated breath to know if he is coming back. Give Rosen the chance to throw to one of the best receivers of all time before it is too late. That way, later on in his career when Fitz is long gone, he will know what a dominant receiver looks like and can begin coaching his receivers on what he wants them to do in specific situations. That’s what dominant quarterbacks do.
And then you have David Johnson. Most of us assume they will eventually work out a long term contract keeping him in Arizona, but is that a certain thing? Le’Veon Bell has set a bit of a market after turning down a 5 year - $70 million extension. Will Johnson take less than that? If not, I would guess that he will still come back for this final year of his contract so that he has the chance to hit free agency. So, again, let Rosen play with the top talent that is currently on the roster and worry about the lack of talent around that corps later.
Rosen is ready. Play him. No more games. I don’t want a “QB of the future”. I want a QB of the now.