There’s one good reason why the Chiefs should kick the tires on a trade for Josh Rosen.
From time to time, we put forth a new trade idea for Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and our latest one sounds a bit odd. After all, dealing for a quarterback is hardly a major need for the team who employs the single greatest player in the NFL at the same position. But kicking the tires on a trade for Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen is exactly the sort of value play that could be ideal for a team like the Chiefs.
Only two NFL seasons have come and gone since quarterback Rosen was selected in the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Somehow, Rosen has been considered largely a bust for the majority of that. He’s played for two teams, which means two head coaches, two offensive schemes, two locker rooms and two sets of teammates.
In that light, it’s easy to play the sympathy card for a young kid like Rosen (still only 23).
On the flip side, you have to also consider the fact that two quarterback needy teams invested in Rosen to one degree or another and both turned to other options with less than a season of game tape on his resume. For the Cardinals, they invested a top 10 draft pick (after trading up), watched Rosen start 13 games and then decided to invest a No. 1 overall pick in Kyler Murray. For the Dolphins, they swung a trade that cost them second and fifth round picks to try Rosen for themselves. One year later, after watching Rosen for only 3 games, they drafted Tua Tagovailoa in the first round.
In that light, it’s easy to dismiss Rosen.
Why would the Chiefs, then, choose to invest anything in a quarterback who has been given clear chances to show what he can do? The answer for K.C. is simple: Andy Reid.
First of all, the scenario for the Kansas City Chiefs at quarterback is actually set up well for this sort of transaction—that is, assuming the price is right for Rosen. (We’ll get to this.) Chad Henne, the current backup quarterback, is already signed for minimal money and cutting him after this season would cost less than $400K in cap space. That’s an easy move. Rosen is on a cost-controlled deal that keeps him cheap(er) as well and is signed through 2021. This means that Rosen and Henne could battle it out in training camp in the present and future for the spot behind Mahomes and the Chiefs would have some flexibility.
More importantly, and back to Reid, the Chiefs have perhaps the NFL’s best offensive teacher(s) in Andy Reid and his staff. Already known as a quarterback whisperer, Reid got Alex Smith to post excellent deep ball numbers and made him an MVP candidate for a solid half season. He’s coaxed an MVP season out of Patrick Mahomes in his first full year, and Matt Moore performed admirably in two starts for the Chiefs in 2019 after not playing in the NFL in two years. If Rosen has the potential to be a franchise quarterback, Andy Reid is the one person who should be most trusted to find out.
This perception plays out perfectly for the Chiefs. As quarterback needy teams come to the table for the 2022 offseason, Rosen is going to be scheduled to be a free agent. At that point, he will be a long-term castoff from the Miami Dolphins sitting behind not only Tagovailoa but Ryan Fitzpatrick as well. But if the Chiefs were to swing a deal for him, he suddenly becomes an intriguing add.
Keeping Henne on the roster at this point is great for experience, for continuity, for some veteran leadership. He’s earned the trust of Chiefs coaches at multiple points now, even after seeing the job that Matt Moore did in relief of an injured Mahomes and Henne. That needs to be noted here.
However, it’s also important to note that Rosen still comes with that recent first round pedigree—and a top 10 label at that. If he were somehow able to rehabilitate his image, to learn and grow from the best in the business—both coach and quarterback—then the value could be there for a beautiful asset flip on Veach’s part.
If Miami wants to play hardball in any way (we’ll get to this in a second), then it’s not worth Veach’s time. However, if the Chiefs could get him for a low-round draft pick, it’s very possible that could turn around and blossom into a much higher return for a team who wants to take a chance on Rosen in a future trade with the Chiefs or as a compensatory free agent who walks and signs a potentially lucrative deal. In those instances, trading a 7th round pick, let’s say, could become a 4th down the road. It would also be a chance to create competition behind Mahomes.
Again it’s not a major deal at all, but these are the sorts of forward-thinking moves that could pay off for the Chiefs by utilizing their strengths (Reid and Mahomes) to help bolster other areas moving forward.