Josh Rosen and the Redskins are a match made in heaven.
Don’t buy into his 2018 struggles — Rosen has the makings of a successful NFL quarterback. If Arizona takes Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick in the draft, the best move for both parties is for Rosen to move to Washington.
Why the Redskins need Rosen
Not even a Redskins fan and I love the Case Keenum trade. Swap late picks and pay $3.5M for him to either be the starter or quality backup. This doesn’t prevent them from drafting a QB or trading for Josh Rosen; it’s simply a smart value addition.
— Stephen Newman (@stephen_newman1) March 8, 2019
Case Keenum is a nice addition, but he’s not getting the team over the top, nor does he place Washington in a deeper financial bind. Therefore, it would behoove the Redskins to add a young quarterback now.
Since the end of the season, I have contended that there are two legitimate starting quarterbacks (Murray and Dwayne Haskins) in this year’s draft class and one (Drew Lock) who could become a solid player if developed and surrounded properly. The rest are lottery picks, and I don’t mean early first-rounders like in the NBA.
In all likelihood, the Redskins would have to trade up from No. 15 to land Haskins. Despite their wealth of picks — they have 11, including four recently-awarded compensatory picks — and reported interest, spending extra resources on a quarterback when they have other holes isn’t optimal. I also place Rosen and Haskins alone on the second tier of young, available quarterbacks — trailing only Murray.
I know what you’re thinking. Rosen looked really bad in Arizona, so how does he have value? As a reminder, Rosen was viewed as, at worst, 1A among quarterbacks in last year’s draft class — and was viewed as such for two years, in the eyes of most experts. Last year wasn’t pretty for Rosen, but a change of scenery is almost certain to benefit him.
If the Cardinals do decide to trade Josh Rosen, I think many teams would be wise to trade for him. Still think he can be a good QB.
Really liked him as a prospect. pic.twitter.com/kT7tOkjOtH
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 25, 2019
Why Rosen needs the Redskins
Although newly minted Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is almost guaranteed to be a more favorable fit offensively than Steve Wilks and company were, Rosen simply needs to hit the reset button, especially if the Cardinals draft Murray. Rather than returning to the team whose fans he let down — although much of it wasn’t his fault — he should restart his career somewhere else, particularly with his starting job in jeopardy.
Looking across the NFL, the clearest path to starting is in Washington. Every other team either has a better short-term option or no long-term need for a quarterback. That includes the Broncos, who stated in no uncertain terms that they think Joe Flacco is a better option than Keenum.
On top of that, Keenum is a perfect partner for Rosen, as a veteran and as a former bridge quarterback.
So, here’s how this should work.
We can debate Rosen’s trade value all we want, but it’s irrelevant in the scheme of things. There’s no way he’ll be worth more than Washington’s first-round pick, and that is likely higher than necessary. Then again, the Giants did acquire the No. 17 pick from Cleveland in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, and they claim to be out of the Haskins sweepstakes, which could be a Rosen endorsement. Nonetheless, letting him go anywhere else —and especially to the Giants — would be a mistake.
Quite frankly, even after adding the young arm, I would make the starting gig Keenum’s to lose. If Rosen blows the organization away in the offseason, fine, but I think there’s a lot of good that could come from him sitting behind a qualified veteran. There’s no need to rush him, especially since his cap hit is almost identical to Keenum’s.
Case Keenum can play. He’s not as good as he looked in 2017, but he’s also not what his time in Denver – or St. Louis – indicates. No help at either stop.
There also aren’t many guys I’d rather pair with a young QB. Been there, done that with Jared Goff, and comes off as classy.
— Stephen Newman (@stephen_newman1) March 8, 2019
Keenum has proven that he can win games when surrounded by a decent roster. He’s also been at his best with someone breathing down his neck —St. Louis doesn’t count because having Jeff Fisher at the helm doesn’t bode well for quarterbacks.
Back in 2017, there was never a doubt that Keenum wouldn’t last. When was he going to regress to journeyman productivity? When was Sam Bradford going to take his job back? Could Teddy Bridgewater become the starter again by the end of the year? Even by the end of the season, it was viewed as no more than a nice story, but there was no way he could win a playoff game. All he did all season was defy odds. While Rosen would almost certainly be the quarterback of the future, adding him may bring out a better Keenum.
More importantly, I think this is linked to the status at head coach. Jay Gruden has seemingly been on the hot seat for years and that seat may be about to catch fire.
Not a good look for the Redskins. Any head coach should at least be in the loop on transactions. Seems like Jay Gruden is not. https://t.co/lYzTb7sMvp
— Stephen Newman (@stephen_newman1) March 18, 2019
If Gruden isn’t in the loop, his days are numbered. And if he isn’t going to last, there’s no point trotting Rosen out there to start the season, knowing the clock is ticking on when he’ll have to adjust to a new play caller. Instead, the Redskins should attach him at the hip to new offensive coordinator and offensive fresh face Kevin O’Connell. Keenum should be Gruden’s guy, but Rosen will be O’Connell’s project and first real test as a coordinator — or even NFL coach, for that matter.
Let Keenum start. If a change needs to be made at quarterback, it’s almost certain to be necessary at head coach, as well. Whenever that happens — it’s just a matter of time, whether it’s midseason or postseason — elevate both Rosen and O’Connell. By all accounts, O’Connell comes across as the more creative mind, which is exactly what Rosen needed and didn’t have in Arizona.
There seems to be no saving Gruden at this point, but Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen probably don’t mind that. If they did, Gruden wouldn’t be in the last year of his contract. If the Redskins play their cards right, they could have a coach and quarterback pairing that at least mirrors the one their former coordinator (Sean McVay) and his young pocket passer (Jared Goff) have formed in Los Angeles. All things considered, that would be franchise-saving.