In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, the New England Patriots still are searching for Tom Brady’s heir after they traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2017 season.
But is there a chance they swing a deal for their franchise signal-caller of the future this offseason? Former NFL tight end and ESPN college football analyst Anthony Becht floated a scenario Thursday that might seem a little crazy … so crazy it just might work.
So, let’s start with Rosen. The UCLA product reportedly drew interest from the Patriots during the pre-draft process, but New England was unable to move into the upper part of the draft to select him. In his first season with the Cardinals, Rosen struggled mightily, completing just 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. It wasn’t all Rosen’s fault, as Arizona’s offensive line allowed him to be sacked 45 times and the Cardinals lacked the offensive weapons around him to orchestrate an effective passing attack.
The Cardinals fired Steve Wilks after going 3-13 and hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach on Wednesday. By virtue of the NFL’s worst record, Kingsbury and the Cardinals will be on the clock first when the 2019 NFL Draft begins. Surely Kingsbury wouldn’t trade his franchise quarterback, would he?
Enter the third piece of the puzzle: Kyler Murray.
The Oklahoma quarterback electrified the college football world this past season, accounting for 54 total touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. Murray was expected to begin his baseball career with the Oakland Athletics after this season, but the 5-foot-9 signal-caller now reportedly will declare for the 2019 NFL Draft and is “leaning towards playing football.”
Now, back to Kingsbury. In October, the then-Texas Tech head coach raved about Murray in a TV interview, stating he would take him No. 1 overall if he had the chance.
“Kyler, I mean, he’s a freak, man,” Kingsbury told Eric Kelly of KLBK at the time. “Kyler is a freak. I’ve followed him since he was a sophomore in high school. Just think the world of him and what he can do on a football field. I’ve never seen one better in high school and he’s starting to show it now at the college level. I don’t have enough good things to say about him. He’s phenomenal.
“I’ve never seen him have a poor outing. Not one, which at quarterback is impossible to do but he’s done it. I’d take him with the first pick of the draft if I could. I know he’s signed up to play baseball but he is a dominant football player and I would take him with the first pick.”
OK, but that’s still just Kingsbury gloating about his upcoming opponent. There’s no reason to make anything of it, right?
Well, ESPN’s Adam Schefter didn’t exactly quiet the noise Thursday morning on “Get Up!” when he explained it’s not improbable Arizona would take Murray at No. 1 overall and then trade Rosen.
“The one thing about the NFL is that quarterbacks are currency,” Schefter said. “And I can tell you this: Last year, when the Cleveland Browns had the first and fourth overall picks, at one point in time — and I know people will be skeptical of this — they considered taking quarterbacks at one and four, and then auctioning off one of the quarterbacks that they liked less.
“So if you’re the Arizona Cardinals and you like Kyler Murray that much — also, imagine him going No. 1 overall — but maybe there’s a scenario where you get him and you auction off Josh Rosen. If that’s what the new (coach) likes, if that’s what he wants, why would you not acquiesce to that when you could get a king’s ransom for Josh Rosen, who some teams really like. Again, we’re getting things started here really early, and really putting things out there, but it’s not implausible that that scenario could unfold.”
Well, that’s a lot to digest.
As for now, the Patriots are focused on Sunday’s divisional-round matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. But when their season does come to an end, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bill Belichick call his Kingsbury, who he drafted in the sixth round in 2002, and try to make a deal. If Rosen is indeed on the block, that is.
Thumbnail photo via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images