Three years ago, Josh Rosen was a first-round pick in the NFL by the Arizona Cardinals. You would have thought the idea of Rosen heading to the CFL was impossible, but things have changed a little bit.
Rosen is now on his third team in as many seasons after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and being placed on the practice squad. Rosen entered the NFL draft in 2018 as one of the top quarterbacks in the class alongside names like Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and to a lesser extent, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph.
On September 11, the Edmonton Football Team added Rosen to their negotiation list. This in no way means that Rosen will ever see time on a Canadian field, but it does mean that he is closer to it now then he had been before.
There is still time for Rosen to rebuild and become the type of player he was expected to out of college, and now he will be able to learn from one of the best to ever do it, Tom Brady. Sitting behind Brady doesn’t guarantee any success in the NFL, however. Before Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garroppolo, none of Brady’s backups had gone on to do much of anything in the NFL. What this does do for Rosen is allow him to watch from the bench for a season and if he does get a chance to play for whatever reason, it will be with a very well built Buccaneers team, something Rosen has never had before.
In 2018, Rosen was thrown into the fire with the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted 10th overall. Rosen was stuck behind the worst offensive line in football and was sacked a whopping 45 times in just 14 games. Rosen never stood a chance with the Cardinals that season. The Cards would hire Kliff Kingsbury in the offseason to be their new head coach. Kingsbury was infatuated with Kyler Murray with the first overall pick, and after just one season, the Cardinals moved Rosen to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a second and fifth-round draft choice.
When in Miami, Rosen sat on the bench behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for most of the 2019 season but would start three games and see action in four games. His numbers looked even worse than the season previous. Rosen threw for just one touchdown with five interceptions, but he was sacked 16 times. In his two years in the NFL, Rosen has never had a quarterback rating (QBR) higher than 24.7.
This isn’t the fault of Rosen, however. Rosen’s career has been defined by the teams he has played on. Sure, he hasn’t helped himself either, but he didn’t stand a chance of living up to his hype on the Cardinals or the Dolphins. The deck was stacked against him the whole time. In fact, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are now in similar spots. People are beginning to question if they are really the ones who can get it done, and it’s more about the ineptitude of their franchises then their play.
Now, let’s get to the fun stuff. It’s cool to think that Josh Rosen might be heading to the CFL, but here’s the thing, it’s never going to happen. There, I said it. That’s my hot take.
Let me explain why. The XFL coming back will change a lot of things. If there was no XFL, I could see Rosen coming to the CFL if he needed a second chance, but now, he will look to the XFL for that second chance. If Rosen looks good with the Buccaneers this season, he will get a chance with another NFL team. Rosen is too young and had too much hype around him for no one to give him a shot. If Rosen flunks out again, the next step will be the XFL.
You might be wondering what happens if he goes to the XFL and fails again. Well, it’s simple. He will be out of football. If Rosen gets to the point that he is looking to head to the CFL, he would have proven numerous times that he isn’t good enough to play pro ball. On top of that, if Rosen fails out of the XFL, there will almost certainly be better options for CFL teams.
I was thinking for a little bit that this was similar to the Johnny Manziel situation, but the more I thought about it, the less and less similar they became. Manziel didn’t have the option of an American spring league, and Rosen didn’t throw away an opportunity either.
Right now, I’m not convinced that we will see Rosen flunk out of the NFL just yet. The Buccaneers might be playing the long game with Rosen and hoping that they can groom him into a legitimate starting quarterback in time for Brady to hang ‘em up and help the Bucs avoid heading into a total rebuild again in two years time.
There is still so much that can happen from now until the end of the season for Josh Rosen.