The more you examine the multiple desires of the New York Giants — win as many games as possible now, upgrade a roster with holes nearly everywhere, implement the Kansas City model to prepare for life after Eli Manning — the more you realize Rosen is the quarterback candidate who, on paper, gives them the best opportunity to fulfill those objectives.
GM Dave Gettleman said earlier this week that he will “probably” come out of the offseason with a young heir to Manning “if all goes according to plan.”
The Giants are diligently sifting through the top tier of quarterbacks in the 2019 draft class.
- Coach Pat Shurmur and VP of Player Personnel Chris Mara watched Kyler Murray perform at his pro day.
- Shurmur, Mara and other Giants’ decision-makers dined with Dwayne Haskins on Tuesday and watched his pro day on Wednesday.
- Drew Lock of Missouri will hold his pro day on Thursday. The Giants will likely be out in full force.
- Duke will hold its pro day featuring Daniel Jones on March 26. The connection between Jones, Manning and Duke coach David Cutcliffe has been well-documented.
Each of those quarterbacks has supporters. Yes, detractors, too. You can make arguments for each as the heir to Manning. You can make arguments against each as the heir to Manning.
One of them could be the choice, None right now, though, appears to be a perfect choice. Or a player Giants decision-makers are unanimously in love with.
Which brings us back to Rosen.
If the Arizona Cardinals make him available — and that remains a question without an answer — the Giants have to consider making a bid for him. Don’t they?
Like the guys in the 2019 draft class, Rosen isn’t a perfect choice to be Manning’s understudy/potential successor. The Giants passed on him a year ago and he had an awful rookie season after Arizona made him the 10th player and fourth quarterback chosen in last year’s draft.
Still, trading for Rosen rather than drafting one of the aforementioned quarterbacks in this class makes sense for a lot of reasons.
For starters, some analysts will tell you Rosen was/is a better prospect than this year’s group of quarterbacks. Our own Mark Schofield chose Rosen over Haskins as the better alternative for the Giants. He said:
While you would lose out on one year of a cost-controlled quarterback, the Giants would also miss out on that rough, “learning experience” of a rookie season. One of the issues with Rosen’s rookie campaign was the lack of weapons around him. Now he’d be stepping into a situation with one of the game’s best wide receivers, a talented and dynamic young running back, a matchup weapon at the tight end position and another young talent at slot receiver. Solidify the offensive line in front of him, and in my opinion Rosen would flourish in New York. Haskins might be a great quarterback some day, but Rosen is closer, and a more advanced passer right now.
Checking the boxes
Back to the plan. Win as much as possible now, build a better roster for the future, implement the Kansas City model by getting a potential quarterback of the future to learn while sitting behind Manning now.
Acquiring Rosen helps the Giants on all of those fronts.
The return for Rosen — if Arizona is moving on from him — is generally expected to be a second-round value. That means the Giants would likely be able to get him for their 37th overall pick, and I think most would rate him a better prospect than Jones, Jarrett Stidham or Will Grier.
The obvious benefit to that is that the Giants would get their quarterback without using a first-round asset, and would then be able to use their picks at 6 and 17 to add talented players to the roster who would be expected to play immediately. That would help them win now and upgrade the roster for the future.
Obviously, getting Rosen also puts the Kansas City model in play for the Giants. After having paid Manning his $5 roster bonus, the Giants couldn’t be expected to cut him and immediately turn the team over to Rosen. After a rough rookie season, though, being the understudy for a two-time Super Bowl winner could help Rosen.
Schofield’s comment alluded to cost. Yes, the Giants would lose out on one year of a quarterback on a rookie deal. The Giants, though, would end up getting Rosen for three years of that rookie deal at a cost, per Spotrac, of just $6.239 million total. That’s base salary plus annual roster bonus. The Giants would also have the ability to pick up Rosen’s fifth-year option.
So, they would be getting him cheap.
The fairly cheap cost to both acquire and pay him gives the Giants yet another card to play. If they don’t like what they see from Rosen, it would not be a crushing blow to move on.
Good friend Patricia Traina, writing for Forbes recently, added another potential scenario. Trade for Rosen, make him the bridge quarterback in 2020 and still dip into the quarterback pool in the 2020 draft for Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovialoa or whoever.
All of this depends on a couple of other factors.
Do the Giants like Rosen?
They could have had him free and clear a year ago with the second overall pick. They didn’t bite. There was some chatter from people I know in the scouting community at the time that Rosen’s unique personality simply rubbed some in the organization the wrong way. If that’s the case that isn’t going to change, and it’s hard to see the Giants putting their franchise in the hands of a player/person they just don’t like.
Also, what do the Giants make of Rosen’s rookie season. He went 3-10 as a starter, completed just 55.2 percent of his passes, had 14 interceptions to 11 touchdowns, a passer rating of 66.7 and a QBR of 26.6. Not good.
Rosen, though, was dealt a bad hand. A defensive-minded rookie coach who was in over his head and got fired after one year. Two offensive coordinators. A bad offensive line. He was sacked on 10.3 percent of his drop backs, compared to 7.5 percent for Manning.
Do the Giants think he’s better than that — that he still has franchise quarterback ability? For what it’s worth, Manning went 1-6 as a starter his rookie year, had six touchdown passes, nine interceptions, a 48.2 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 55.4.
Are the Cardinals really trading him?
Arizona, with the No. 1 overall pick, is playing this beautifully.
The Cardinals met with Murray Tuesday, but as NFL.com said in its report trying to figure out if they will really draft Murray or are just trying to entice teams to trade up to No. 1 is “a fool’s errand.”
The Cardinals might take Murray and move Rosen, in which case you would think the Giants would be in play. They might be angling to trade the No. 1 pick to a quarterback-needy team for a bounty they can use to rebuild with.
In the end, my guess is Rosen to the Giants doesn’t happen, and that the Giants find their quarterback of the future in this draft or the next one. Still, there are valid reasons why it could.