Ever since the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers in October 2017, there has been rampant discussion about how the team planned to find the successor to Tom Brady. Many analysts believed that the Pats would take a close look at the QB prospects during the months leading up to April’s draft, as Brady isn’t getting any younger. A recent development with the QB situation in Arizona could end up changing the Pats’ plans in April.
In short, it’s becoming increasingly possible that the Cardinals may choose to move on from their 2018 first round pick, Josh Rosen, who had a disappointing rookie campaign after being drafted tenth overall from UCLA. Ironically enough, Arizona’s new head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that he would draft Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray if he had the first pick of the draft, back when he was the head coach at Texas Tech. This is now the situation Kingsbury finds himself in, as the head coach of the team with the first pick and with Murray entering the draft. Analysts believe that Rosen is not a natural fit for Kingsbury’s Air Raid style of offense, with Murray being an ideal fit with his combination of athleticism and playmaking ability. Although Kingsbury has said the right things in public, Arizona’s GM Steve Keim sparked speculation regarding the team’s plans in April, when he said that Rosen was their QB “for now”.
This could serve as an opportunity for the Patriots, who were reportedly interested in Rosen leading up to the 2018 draft. It’s also important to consider that Rosen is likely better than most if not all of the quarterbacks in this draft class, which would mean that the Pats would most probably have to give up at least a first round pick in order to entice Arizona. Notable quarterbacks traded in recent years, such as Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater (who were both on expiring contracts) netted second and third round picks, respectively. Oddly enough, the Eagles netted a first rounder and a fourth rounder in 2016 from the Vikings in exchange for Sam Bradford. Hence, I would expect Arizona to not really consider any offer from the Pats if it didn’t include at least one mid-round pick packaged with the 32nd overall pick. Bill Belichick and the front office could probably afford to give up a mid-round pick, with their war chest including two second rounders and three third rounders. Another interesting angle to acknowledge is the fact that Kliff Kingsbury was Tom Brady’s backup during the 2003 season, and reportedly still has a good relationship with both Brady and Belichick. Maybe the Pats will be able to use that relationship to their advantage.
I truly believe that adding Rosen would be advantageous for the Pats for a number of reasons. Due to their recent victory in Super Bowl LIII, the Pats have the last pick in the first round, which would make it hard for them to draft a top QB prospect without moving up the round via trade. Hence, the Pats would likely be giving up a similar package in a hypothetical trade for Rosen. Also, Rosen could move past his disappointing rookie campaign, similarly to the Rams’ Jared Goff and Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky, who both took a step forward due to a coaching change and the addition of a strong supporting cast. Rosen could get both if he was traded to the Patriots, as he would be learning from Josh McDaniels, with solid pieces such as Sony Michel and Julian Edelman on the offense, who would likely take some pressure off of him. It would also be hard to undersell the benefit of playing behind Tom Brady, due to his work ethic and preparation.
If the Patriots were to trade for Josh Rosen, I think it would set them up wisely for the future.