The Arizona Cardinals are shopping quarterback Josh Rosen after a disastrous rookie season. Rosen started in 14 games, yet somehow threw for only a mere 2,278 passing yards. He threw three more interceptions than touchdowns and practically had a 50 percent completion rate. After being drafted 10th overall, Rosen seemed to be the biggest draft bust from last year, but now that the Cardinals are shopping him, other NFL teams are suddenly interested—especially the New York Giants.
The big question here is whether or not the Giants actually need to pick up a quarterback at all. As a die hard Giants fan, I strongly believe that two time Super Bowl champion and MVP quarterback Eli Manning is not the problem. The real culprit behind the Giants’ struggle is the offensive line. Sure, the o-line improved a bit after the Giants cut left tackle Ereck Flowers, but it was still ranked 21st in the NFL at the end of the season. Manning was hit with career high of 47 sacks, averaging nearly three sacks per game. Even with the constant pressures and sacks, Manning ranked eighth in the NFL in passing yards, throwing an incredible 4,299 yards and a solid 21 touchdowns. That being said, it’s time for the veteran quarterback to pass the reins over to a young quarterback like Rosen.
One of the biggest arguments against Rosen is that he seems to be a draft bust. While other rookie quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson definitely had much better seasons, I think it’s still too early to officially declare Rosen as a bust. Just look at Rams quarterback Jared Goff: he was terrible his rookie season; he made the playoffs his sophomore season; he made the Super Bowl his third season. While Goff became a Super Bowl quarterback in three seasons, it’s his rookie seasons that gives me hope in Rosen.
Let’s break down Goff’s and Rosen’s rookie seasons. In seven games, Goff threw 1,089 passing yards with a 54.6 completion percentage, threw five touchdowns and seven interceptions and averaged 155.6 yards per game. Meanwhile, in fourteen games (coincidentally exactly twice as many games as Goff played), Rosen threw 2,278 passing yards with a 55.2 completion percentage, threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and averaged 162.7 yards per game. Goff and Rosen have nearly identical TD-INT ratios. Both Goff and Rosen average virtually the same amount of passing yards per game. If you double Goff’s passing yards, he is exactly 100 yards short from Rosen. The resemblance between Goff’s and Rosen’s stats is uncanny. Now, I’m not saying that Rosen is a guaranteed Super Bowl contender by 2021, but the similarity between Goff’s and Rosen’s rookie season stats prove that it is way too early to call Rosen a draft bust.
So why the New York Giants? With the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Gmen could easily pick up star quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray. Last week, everyone expected the Cardinals to draft defensive end Nick Bosa first overall, but after shopping Rosen out of the blue, Arizona seems to have their eyes fixed on Murray. The Giants have a few quarterback options, but these seem to be its two main choices: either pick up Rosen, follow the KC formula and use the first-round pick to bulk up the defense, or ignore Rosen completely and roll the dice on Haskins.
New York is pretty lucky with this year’s draft order because there are no other teams between the Cardinals and Giants who are in dire need of drafting a quarterback, which basically guarantees Haskins’ availability. However, the Giants are in rebuild mode right now. It’s not easy to admit it as a Giants fan, but the Giants have basically wiped the slate clean on defense after getting rid of star players like linebacker Jonathan Casillas, defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, strong safety Landon Collins and, most recently, Olivier Vernon. With so many defensive studs in this year’s draft, the Giants might need to take advantage of such a high overall first-round pick and draft a defensive star.
Let’s say the Giants pull the trigger and trade for Josh Rosen. The next step would be to figure out if general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur want to start Rosen immediately or follow the KC model. The KC—or Kansas City—model is based on the Kansas City Chief’s decision to let Patrick Mahomes spend his rookie year learning from quarterback Alex Smith, then trading away Smith and start Mahomes as a sophomore. Clearly this strategy worked for Kansas City; Mahomes immediately threw 50 touchdowns, won MVP and lead the Chiefs to the AFC Conference Championship Game. It’s pretty clear that Manning’s time with New York is running out. At 38 years old, Manning is getting much slower than he was in his prime and his contracts are taking a big hit on the Giants’ cap space. Coach Shurmur has hinted throughout the 2018-2019 season that he trusts Manning to lead the Giants next season, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a young quarterback like Rosen watching and learning from the sidelines. The Giants are in a fragile state of rebuilding, so it might be best to take the whole quarterback situation slowly.
Ultimately, I think trading for Josh Rosen is a fairly risky but potentially very rewarding deal for the Giants. Right now, his 2019 salary cap charge is set at just under $4 million US, so even if he does turn out to be a complete bust, he won’t be hacking off too much of the Giants’ $24 million US cap space. However, the largest benefit from signing Rosen would be using the first-round pick on a defensive player. This year’s draft class is absolutely loaded with defensive beasts like defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Greedy Williams. The Gmen are better off taking Rosen and drafting a defensive player who is practically guaranteed to dominate the field than to roll the dice on a rookie quarterback.