The Denver Broncos have not been connected much to Josh Rosen, but what if the price drops to a second-round pick? John Elway should be on it.
The Denver Broncos have been working hard evaluating quarterbacks for the 2019 NFL Draft class, and they did the same thing for the 2018 NFL Draft class.
The Broncos apparently loved Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold in 2018, but didn’t move up to get Darnold and weren’t in a position to get Mayfield. They looked closely (multiple times) at Josh Allen and Josh Rosen, two more top 10 picks in last year’s draft, but passed on both for Bradley Chubb.
Does that mean the Broncos would not want either Allen or Rosen? Not necessarily, it just means they didn’t believe they were worth a top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
With the Cardinals hot on the Kyler Murray trail after hiring Kliff Kingsbury to be their new head coach, it appears the writing is on the wall and Rosen is going to be traded at some point.
The ‘leaders’ for his services appear to be the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, at least according to Peter King.
But there’s another team lurking on King’s list at number three that should intrigue all of us. King put the Broncos at third on the list of teams most likely to acquire Rosen via trade, calling Denver an ‘unlikely’ landing spot but saying they couldn’t be eliminated because they are taking a young quarterback this year or next.
The rationale for acquiring Rosen in a trade is the same for any team considering the move.
You are getting a young quarterback who has already taken his lumps as a rookie, and a player who is going to be more motivated than ever, despite being the fourth quarterback selected when he undoubtedly believed he was the best in the 2018 class going into the process.
Rosen had a tough rookie season, but he’s a player worth considering a trade for, even for a second round pick.
Here are some things to consider in a potential Rosen trade.
1. This is a really rare opportunity
If the Broncos had a first-round grade on Rosen last year, they have a rare opportunity that teams are never afforded in the NFL. They can essentially swap a 2019 second-round pick (if the Cardinals will come down to that price) for a 2018 first-round pick.
Imagine if the Broncos were sitting there last year and called Jon Gruden, the original owner of the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and offered a 2019 second-round pick in exchange for pick no. 10.
Now imagine if Gruden had said yes.
That’s essentially what the Broncos would be doing here. They would be getting a player they presumably had a first-round grade on for the price of a first-round pick.
Rosen took his lumps with another team, and now he’s ready to move forward and continue to make progress.
If the Cardinals are so in love with Murray that they would dump Rosen for a second-round pick, that’s great value for the Broncos, who are taking a quarterback at some point in this draft anyway.
2. Rosen’s contract
The Cardinals already paid Rosen his signing bonus as Mike Klis pointed out on Orange & Blue 760.
What does this mean? This means they’re going to take a sizeable dead money hit if/when they trade Rosen, and it means the acquiring team will absorb him for pennies on the dollar to their cap.
The Broncos could take Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, or Daniel Jones in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and pay them their full signing bonus, or they could trade for Rosen and pay him essentially his base salary.
3. Where Rosen ranks between 2018-19 class
Where would you rank Rosen between the 2018 and 2019 class?
Using hindsight, Baker Mayfield is a clear no. 1. I think Sam Darnold is firmly in no. 2 with Kyler Murray as a 2a.
After that, it’s subjective.
I would rank Drew Lock ahead of Rosen in terms of upside, but some would disagree with me there.
In that case, you’d be getting at worst a top-five player at the position over the last two years for the price of a 2019 second-round pick.
Again, that’s a ridiculous value for the Broncos or any team.
It remains to be seen if John Elway would consider this, but I don’t agree with the sect of Broncos fans who think the Broncos would not even consider trading for Rosen because of the fact that they took Chubb over him in last year’s draft.
That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have traded a second-round pick in the 2019 Draft last year for Rosen if they could have done that, but that wasn’t ever a realistic option.
Now, it seems, it might be, and John Elway would be a fool not to consider it unless he loves Drew Lock or one of the other guys in this class.
Elway has to answer the question of whether he likes one of this year’s quarterbacks so much more than Rosen that he would pass on the chance to trade for him and get his contract for pennies on the dollar and pay someone from this year’s draft class their full contract.