The Josh Rosen trade has divided an already split Miami Dolphin fanbase.
Once Ryan Tannehill departed and Ryan Fitzpatrick arrived, Phin fans set themselves up for a losing season – the tank was on.
It would be worth it, they told themselves, as they were positioning themselves for the No 1 pick in the 2020 draft and it would give them the best chance to take whoever they want, be it Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert or another quarterback who excelled in the draft process.
So when rumours surfaced after the first round of the 2019 draft that the front office were in communication with with the Arizona Cardinals over the possibility of acquiring sophomore QB Rosen for a 2nd round pick, there was confusion and bewilderment among Miami supporters.
It’s easier to tank with Fitzpatrick than it is with Rosen, so why bother ‘wasting’ a 2nd round pick when the side needed a plethora of starters in various positions?
In the end, Miami traded back with the Saints to pick up an extra 2nd next year and used their new pick to pick up Rosen.
And that extra second could be the proof that they are still working towards taking the best man under centre in a year’s time.
I’m not privy to the Dolphins plan this season. 99.9% of fans aren’t either.
We can all make educated guesses but we won’t really know what this front office are doing until it actually happens. With that being said, there’s one way of unravelling all that went on during Friday which makes some sense, to this writer anyway.
The Dolphins are trying to win as many games as possible this year and have the draft picks, 13, next year to manipulate the board if they feel Rosen can’t lead this team to multiple 10+ win seasons.
Brian Flores is not here to tank. He does not want to lose games, no-one does.
He wants wins, wins and more wins.
If Flores and this side go 0-16 this season, that’s a bad thing.
Hue Jackson and his Cleveland Browns went 1-31 with a roster that was far better than their record.
But through bad coaching, they couldn’t get out of their own way and stacked L after L after L.
This is not want Stephen Ross wants, a losing culture to develop in Miami.
Make no mistake, the moves the front office made in the off-season make it very hard to stack up multiple W’s in the win column.
But it is why if they do manage to pick up 6, 7 or 8 wins, which fans do not want, then it’s actually a very good thing.
It shows Ross and Chris Grier that the staff in place can coach a roster devoid of star players and make them winners.
That the players in the building are NFL-caliber players and the scouts have done a great job identifying said players.
And that if they add more quality in free agency, they have the cap space to make some splashes, and the picks in the 2020 draft to add some blue-chip players, then the Dolphins can make a serious run at not only the AFC East in 2020 but on a consistent basis for the foreseeable future.
What worries fans with the Rosen pick-up that this becomes No 17 all over again.
Years of ‘what if’ Rosen is the guy and the team ends up passing on Tua and Fromm in 2020 and the likes of Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
But say Dwayne Haskins was the pick at 13, like some fans wanted, or Drew Lock in the 2nd round, another want from fans, and the time spent trying to work out if one of those was their guy prevented the front office from pulling the trigger on someone in the next few drafts.
Or say Tua doesn’t declare for the next draft and the Phins felt that the rest of the QB class didn’t impress that much.
At that point, the team would have been left reaching for someone who they didn’t quite believe in – or stuck with Fitzpatrick.
Having Rosen in house means Miami doesn’t have to draft anyone in the top 5 next year if they feel the quarterbacks declaring are no better than Rosen, again assuming Tua stays in college for another year.
It just means that the coaching staff and players have a better chance of winning now and don’t have to force anything in 12 months time.
And the front office have the safety net of the plethora of picks, and counting, should they decide that they want a different signal caller in 2020 and the Dolphins managed to get 5+ wins – which could have happened under Fitzpatrick.
This iteration of the Dolphins haven’t let us down yet so until then, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt with the Rosen trade.