Well, we knew there would be some surprises among the Dolphins’ final roster cuts as they prepare to embark on the journey that is the 2020 NFL season, but I don’t think any of us could have envisioned third year quarterback, trade acquisition and former first round pick Josh Rosen being cut.
Ever since the news of this development broke late Friday, Dolphin fans everywhere have come out with pitchforks and heated rhetoric, claiming that Rosen was never given a real chance to succeed, that Miami made a bad move trading for the QB and a worse one letting him go so soon and on at least one site, that general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores played politics with the Dolphins’ quarterback unit.
The one sign that fans should have recognized, but for the most part, didn’t, is that this move sends a clear and unmistakable message that the team believes Dolphins quarterback of the future, Tua Tagovailoa, is much closer to taking over the reins of this football team and franchise than many of us, myself included, had previously thought. Like his predecessor, Ryan Tannehill, Tagovailoa is a natural leader that his teammates tend to gravitate to, and has top intangibles. Unlike Tannehill, he’s both an NFL ready product and oozes sky high potential.
Rosen’s most passionate supporters are obsessed with two numbers: 10 and 62. There’s no way he would have been the tenth overall pick in the 2018 draft if he didn’t possess a tremendous amount of talent, they say. But here’s the thing: Rosen was only the tenth pick of the draft while he was with the team that drafted him, the Arizona Cardinals. The very second Cardinals GM Steve Keim got off the phone with Chris Grier on draft day 2019, when Miami traded for Rosen, Josh Rosen was no longer the tenth pick of the draft, but a former number one pick whose original team had given up on after just twelve months. By the way, did you know that Steve Keim, a former offensive lineman, played one season for the Dolphins in 1996, Jimmy Johnson’s first year in Miami? Neither did I.
The other number that fans who are upset today are obsessed with is 62, as in, the 62nd overall pick in last year’s draft, which the Dolphins gave Arizona, along with a fifth rounder this season, for the rights to Rosen. Everyone understands that there are only 64 picks in the first two rounds of the draft, right? Compensatory picks aren’t awarded until the end of the third round and later, which means that the highly coveted draft pick that Rosen supporters insist will cripple the Dolphins for years for having lost, was only two slots away from the start of the third round. I get it that Rosen is young, cheap and perhaps could have been a great candidate to be the Dolphins’ backup QB for a long time, if they had kept him. But know this: over his sixteen starts, which came over the course of two NFL seasons with two different teams, Josh Rosen was more than just ‘bad’. He was abysmally, historically bad. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald pointed out, since 2000, only four NFL quarterbacks with at least 500 pass attempts had a lower quarterback rating than Josh Rosen — Mike McMahon (picked in the fifth round in 2001, by the Detroit Lions), John Skelton (picked in the fifth round in 2010, by the Cardinals), Chris Weinke (picked in the fourth round in 2001, by the Carolina Panthers) and DeShone Kizer (picked in the second round in 2017, by the Cleveland Browns). So, over the past twenty seasons, of the dozens upon dozens of guys who have thrown five hundred passes or more in the National Football League, only four of them were worse than Rosen. That doesn’t sound to me like a guy we should be upset about being cut.
But, perhaps more than anything, what disappoints a lot of the fans is that now they don’t have the potential salvation they’ve been seeking, someone who they hoped would beat out the kid from the Alabama Crimson Tide as Miami’s starting quarterback. I believe that a sizable number of Dolphin fans weren’t necessarily rooting for Rosen as much as they were rooting against Tagovailoa. And on some level, I can’t say I blame them. After all, we’ve been bombarded for nearly two years with rumors that the Dolphins were interested in him. ’Tanking For Tua, etc. So it’s understandable that a lot of folks didn’t care who Miami’s quarterback was, so long as it wasn’t the guy whose name they’ve grown sick and tired of hearing. I believe just as surely as I believe the sun will rise tomorrow, that if the other young QB on the roster had been named Jay Fiedler, Sage Rosenfels, John Beck or Cleo Lemon, a large swath of Dolphin fans would have been praying nightly for him to beat out Miami’s young rookie QB. Like it or not, before he even steps on the field in a regular season game, Tua Tagovailoa has instantly helped make the Miami Dolphins relevant and popular once again. When was the last time the Dolphins were a popular NFL team? When was the last time a Dolphins quarterback’s jersey was among the top sellers across the country? Of course, none of it will matter unless he can help the team win games. But that’s just it — he’s going to win a lot of games for Miami. At least, that’s what the Chris Grier and Brian Flores, based on their actions, believe. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.