Redskins’ Quarterback Dilemma: Analyzing Potential Trade Targets

As we wrote yesterday, the Washington Redskins have a dilemma on their hands when it comes to the most important position on the field, Quarterback. One way in which they could potentially address the issue is by way of trade. Who are their potential trade partners and what sacrifices would need to be made to acquire these signal callers? Read on as we discuss.

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals. Talk around a trade for Josh Rosen with the Cardinal has intensified greatly coming out of this weekend’s scouting combine. There is some wonder if there is real interest from the Redskins or if this is simply a play by the Cards to drive up the value of their number one overall pick. Let’s think back to last year when the Redskins traded for Alex Smith. There was little to no discussion beforehand and many were surprised when the deal was announced. Whether you like Bruce Allen or hate him, he isn’t one to show his hand if it doesn’t benefit him in some way to do so.

Rosen was the tenth overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Cardinals who moved up five spots to secure him by sending the Raiders a third and a fifth round pick. The first question that needs to be answered is, do the Cardinals want to part with Rosen after just one year? Rosen struggled last year during his 13 starts, along with the rest of the offense. Rosen threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and was one of the least accurate quarterbacks in the league with a completion percentage of just 55.2. With that being said, he was a rookie and there are certainly areas that the team can build on. The number of sacks he took, 45, depressed some of the numbers that he could have potentially put up. Just two weeks ago Cardinals new Head Coach, Kliff Kingsbury, let the media know that Rosen was “our guy.” However, when asked on Wednesday at the combine about Rosen, team GM Steve Keim added an interesting caveat to the conversation. “Yeah, he is, right now, for sure,” stated Keim. That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement that the Cardinals are sold on Rosen. Reports on what the Cardinals will do with Rosen vary widely. Today, Rich Eisen of the NFL Network stated “From what I’m hearing, the Cardinals are standing pat [with Rosen].” The NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones has reported that there is an expectation around the league that the Cardinals intend to select Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma with the first pick. Most likely this all means that the Cardinals are trying to see what they can get for either the first pick or Josh Rosen and will act on what they feel is the best deal. This all begs to question, do the Redskins want Rosen and if so, what would they be willing to give up.

It is no secret that the Skins are in a tough spot at quarterback this year and do not have the cap room to throw at a free agent quarterback. Josh Rosen is a cheap option. His cap hit for this year is just under four million, and the team would have control for three years with a fourth year option. This would give the Redskins a quarterback of the future, if not this year. We also know that Head Coach Jay Gruden likes a more aggressive approach for his quarterback. At the end of the 2017 season, he famously said of Kirk Cousins “A lot of times he needs to see guys being open instead of throwing guys open from time to time.” To his credit, Rosen led the NFL in aggressiveness in 2018, according to an NFL Next Gen stat that rates how often a quarterback throws into coverage. There are reasons to believe that the Redskins would be interested in Rosen, but if they are, what are they willing to give up.

It is likely that the Cardinals would want a first round pick in return for Rosen to ensure that they got a return on last year’s investment. The Redskins have a lot of holes to fill and some have suggested that they would be better suited trading back in the draft and piling up picks. Would they be willing to give the 15th overall pick for an unproven second year quarterback? In his latest “Football Morning in America” column, Peter King has cited two sources that put Rosen’s current value as a third round pick. Kurt warner told King that he would give a third rounder for Rosen. After spending the tenth pick and giving a third and a fifth for Rosen, getting only a third back is just not worth it for the Cardinals. This would essentially mean that they wasted the tenth pick last year and a fifth. Many teams have been linked to Rosen, including the Patriots, Giants and Steelers. If the price is right, this seems to be a trade that would benefit the Redskins over the next several years. Given all of the potential negatives for the Cardinals, however, I would say that this trade is unlikely to happen.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins. This weekend, the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have let teams know that Tannehill is available and “The Washington Redskins are one team the Dolphins have engaged, per one source. ” Tannehill is 30 years old and there is concern that he is simply not a starting caliber NFL quarterback. The problem is that his contract pays him like one. Tannehill’s salary cap hit this year will be 26.6 million, that is only $400,000 less than Tom Brady’s. That is a steep price to pay for a quarterback with pocket awareness issues and a tendency to take inopportune sacks. At the beginning of February it was reported that the Dolphins were prepared to release Tannehill given his huge cap hit.

The Redskins interest in Tannehill is likely to be very little to none. He possesses none of the qualities that Gruden typically looks for in a quarterback and the Redskins are in no position, cap wise, to take that hit, unless they were to trade another big contract to the Dolphins (Josh Norman anyone?) The Redskins may, however, see if the Dolphins do release him and bring him in to compete with Colt McCoy and Josh Johnson for the starting gig.

Case Keenum, Denver Broncos. We haven’t heard much about Keenum since the Broncos traded for Joe Flacco. It is unlikely, however, that the Broncos keep both signal callers at their current salary. This would mean that they would need to trade Keenum or restructure his contract. Keenum isn’t a star in the making, but he is capable and helped lead the Vikings deep into the playoffs two years ago. It is likely that the Redskins view Keenum as little better, if any, than what they already have and would be unwilling to give up much in a trade for him. If the price is right, though, they could bring him in to compete with McCoy and Johnson.

CJ Beathard, San Fransisco 49ers. The 49ers enter 2019 with Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and CJ Beathard rostered at the quarterback position. Many feel that Coach Kyle Shanahan will annoint Mullens as the backup to Garoppolo making Beathard available. Beathard has only won one of his ten NFL starts but has flashed some promise. Could this be a project that Jay wants to take on?

Others that have been mentioned as potential trade interest for the Redskins include Jacoby Brissett, Derek Carr, and Andy Dalton. None of these names has generated any buzz. The most likely scenario for the Redskins in 2019 is that they roll with the quarterbacks on the roster and draft a potential future starter in rounds two through five. Later this week we will break down potential free-agent solutions to their quarterback problem.

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Leroy Travers

Follow my coverage of Lacrosse (College and MLL) as well as Georgetown Hoyas Basketball, the Washington Redskins, and most other sports here on the MSB. Living in neighboring Sussex County, Delaware, I have been a huge Maryland Sports fan for almost 40 years. Follow me on Twitter @el_travs, and on Instagram @Letrav.

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