Josh Rosen has strong arm, strong opinions

April 12, 2019

Josh Rosen was taken at No. 10 a year ago, but the Arizona Cardinals quarterback could still be one of the biggest stories at this month’s upcoming NFL draft.

If the Cardinals decide to pick Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1, Rosen, their starter at quarterback last season, is suddenly at the heart of some of the biggest questions of the day.

Will they trade him to the Redskins? What will the Redskins be willing to offer for Rosen? Will other bidders offer a better deal for Arizona?

Do the Redskins even want Rosen? Or will they draft a quarterback perhaps Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Dan Snyder’s son’s high school buddy) with their 15th pick in the first round?

Lots of drama at quarterback for a franchise that currently has Case Keenum and Colt McCoy on the payroll at that position with an injured Alex Smith playing the salary cap penalty position this season.

Acquiring Rosen would answer a lot of questions for the Redskins the most important being what, exactly, is this franchise going to sell to the damaged fan base this year? Rosen could, conceivably, be featured in a marketing pitch. So could one of the quarterback prospects coming out of college Haskins, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock.

But Rosen is more of a commodity today than tomorrow. He has played one NFL season, and despite poor stats 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 2,278 yards and a 55 percent completion rate he didn’t collapse under the weight of being a rookie quarterback playing in one of the worst situations in the league, a one-year head coach fired after a 3-13 record. Many talent evaluators have said that if Rosen was in this year’s draft (he was the youngest of last year’s quarterback draft class) he would be rated second behind Murray.

If you are the Washington Redskins and you trade for Rosen, he is your 2019 starting quarterback not Keenum, not McCoy.

But there are questions surrounding Rosen that also may come into play some of the same questions that were raised when he was coming out of the draft from UCLA.

What does Rosen think? About a lot of things the environment, labor rights, foreign policy politics?

The Washington Redskins name?

Rosen appears to be a smart, curious, opinionated young man. And while he appeared to have kept his mouth shut during his rookie season in Arizona, he may just be smart enough to know the time and place to speak up and speak out.

In an April 2018 ESPN the magazine interview, Rosen was asked if he would stay out of politics as a pro. His response included this: “There is a time and a place for it. You might not want to speak against the president in the playoffs or before you have a starting job on a team and actually have a voice.”

He was questioned about staying out of politics because he not shy about speaking his mind while at UCLA particularly about President Trump. There was the famous Instagram post where Rosen, playing golf on a Trump course in April 2016, posted a photo of him wearing a “F---- Trump” hat a post he would later delete.

He told Sports Illustrated that he regretted the profanity of the message. “With Trump, I’m learning to evolve my message and understand how to convey the substance of it.”

He spoke out a month later on Instagram about a $280 million Under Armour deal with UCLA. “We’re still amateurs though ... gotta love nonprofits #NCAA.”

You could chalk this up to immaturity, but Rosen grew up in an environment where politics and issues were likely discussed and debated. His father is a famous orthopedic surgeon who was once under consideration by President Obama to be surgeon general even though Rosen later said his father voted for Trump. His mother is the great-granddaughter of Joseph Wharton of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School who Rosen described as a “feminist liberal.”

Again, Rosen appeared to take a lower profile, for the most part, during his rookie season in Arizona. But this isn’t Phoenix. It’s the District of Columbia, the biggest stage on earth for politics and causes. And we have no idea what Rosen may think of the Redskins name.

Nine out of 10 American Indians may not be offended by the name, based on two independent polls 12 years apart, but a generation of millennials appears to believe the name is racist and offensive.

Sooner or later, the team is going to come face-to-face with a player who claims the name is offensive and says so. Heck, for all we know, they may have already in their pre-draft or trade intelligence. There was an NFL referee, Mike Carey, who told the Washington Post he begged off officiating Redskins games for the last eight of his 19 seasons in the league because he found the name “disrespectful,” and nobody knew about it until he was retired.

Rosen may have no such objections. But it is clear that based on what we know of the quarterback, he will probably think about it. He thinks about a lot of things.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.