The Arizona Cardinals had to make the media rounds Tuesday to confirm they still want a quarterback they drafted 10th overall last season, after it was speculated they’d draft Kyler Murray based on who he picked as his agent.
Yep, we’re in the NFL’s silly season.
Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and new coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday that Josh Rosen, last year’s first-round pick, is still their quarterback. That shouldn’t have been a big mystery, but it’s a slow time of year in the NFL.
Because the Cardinals have the first pick and people are connecting some dots between them and Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, and the team had to stop that speculation.
Cardinals reiterate support for Josh Rosen
The chatter about Murray going No. 1 to the Cardinals has two fairly illogical starting points. One, when Kingsbury was coach of Texas Tech, he said he’d pick Murray first overall if he was an NFL coach. Everyone knows that coaches go out of their way to praise opponents on game week; holding them to such statements is a bit crazy.
Then, Murray hired Erik Burkhardt as his agent. Burkhardt is also Kingsbury’s agent. Nobody should reasonably believe a team would make a franchise-altering decision because the coach shares an agent with a top prospect. Yet, Bidwill had to say that the team is sticking by Rosen, who struggled as a rookie. He called the speculation good for sports talk radio, and he’s not far off with that remark.
“Josh is a smart guy, he’s been around and he’s seen what happens year in and year out,” Bidwill said on 98.7 FM in Arizona, via the Cardinals website. “There’s always a lot of speculation that turns out to not be true. But moving forward, we’re going to continue to build this team and build around the foundation that we have.”
Kingsbury said that the team’s feelings about Rosen haven’t changed.
“Josh is our guy,” Kingsbury said, via Josh Weinfuss of the Cardinals’ site. “Kyler is a tremendous player, I said that to be very complimentary before we played an opponent. I understand the sound bite, but there will be a ton of scenarios that come up before we get to the draft.”
Even the team’s Twitter account drove the point home:
Y’all are having fun with speculation, but… pic.twitter.com/dy4NbJ82iB
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 12, 2019
Things can happen. Perhaps the Cardinals decide after their draft prep that Murray is such a good prospect, even at 5-foot-10, that he’s worth dumping Rosen and starting over. But it won’t be because of who Murray picked as his agent, or a quote from when Kingsbury was preparing to face Oklahoma.
It wouldn’t be prudent for Cardinals to trade Rosen
One issue that is rarely brought up with drafting a quarterback high is there is opportunity cost involved. At almost any other position you can double up at a position. Had the Cleveland Browns drafted another defensive end a year after drafting Myles Garrett, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Only one quarterback can play, however. Once you draft a quarterback early in the first round, it’s a multi-year marriage.
The Cardinals would have to take a loss on Rosen if they do decide to trade him, which seems unlikely. He struggled as a rookie, which isn’t the end of the world, but it does diminish his value in a hypothetical trade. So does the fact that he’d be a year into his cheap rookie contract.
The Cardinals hired Kingsbury, in part, to develop Rosen. It’s too early to say what Rosen will be as an NFL quarterback. Not everyone bursts onto the scene right away like Baker Mayfield.
It’s not outrageous to believe the Cardinals might decide Murray is a once-in-a-lifetime prospect and they have to make whatever concessions to get him. But it would be fairly unprecedented to move on from a quarterback drafted as high as Rosen after just one year.
Just think, only two more months of speculation like this before the draft.
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