Over the past few days at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, speculation has been running rampant that the Arizona Cardinals are toying with the idea of drafting University of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the #1 overall pick. On the surface, the idea of taking a quarterback with the #1 overall pick isn’t necessarily a strange one.
It does, however, become strange when you throw in the fact that the Cardinals drafted a quarterback in the first round in last year’s draft as well, even trading up in order to do so.
The Cardinals selected Josh Rosen with the 10th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, giving the Oakland Raiders a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to move up five spots in Round 1. He didn’t necessarily light the world on fire in his rookie season, but he didn’t exactly have a ton of help. . .after all, there’s a reason that the Cardinals are picking #1 overall this April.
If the Cardinals really are in the Kyler Murray sweepstakes, it’s tough to imagine that they’d keep Rosen around, and it’s also tough to imagine that Rosen would be thrilled with such a scenario. That means the Cardinals would be looking to trade Rosen away. Is this something that the Minnesota Vikings should, potentially, be involved in?
I think so. Here’s why.
We know that Kirk Cousins has a huge contract, but that contract only runs through the end of the 2020 season. With the way Rosen’s contract is structured, he could be had for a relative pittance. The reason for that is that, in the event of a trade, the Cardinals would have to eat his signing bonus, leaving very little (comparatively) in salary to pay out. Here are his salary cap figures for the duration of his contract, courtesy of Over the Cap.
For reference, Trevor Siemian had a cap hit of just under $2 million last season, and I think most of us would be more comfortable with Josh Rosen taking snaps in the event of something happening to Cousins than we would be with Siemian. I would be, anyway.
If you could get Rosen on board with being Cousins’ backup with the inside track to being the heir apparent in a couple of seasons, you’ve given yourself some options. If Cousins turns a corner over the course of the next couple of seasons, you re-sign him, and then you can either keep Rosen around as a backup or get some sort of compensation for him down the road. If that doesn’t happen, Rosen would have a season to audition for the long-term job in 2021 before the Vikings would have to decide whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option. . .and if he plays well enough for the Vikings to pick up his option, you’d have to think that would be a good thing.
I’m not sure what the Cardinals would want an exchange for Josh Rosen in a trade. Nobody is even 100% sure that said trade is actually going to happen. But if the Cardinals do go down that road, I think it’s certainly something the Vikings should be interested in doing.
What say you, folks?