Dolphins take an unnecessary risk on Rosen

“Day Traders” often execute what is known in Stock Market parlance as a “Channel Trade.”

A “channel” is a tight trend line for a stock price, that goes from Support (down) to Resistance (up), consistently. This very tight trend is often called “consolidation” when the sentiment on the stock is positive. “The Street” considers this pattern, a sign of a dead/battleground stock, not to be invested in. The Day Trader however, can use this pattern, and the consistency of it for profit. In reality, what you are buying is not an appreciating asset, or something with growth potential. You are using technical factors for short term gain.

The Miami Dolphins just executed a channel trade.

Chris Grier, the general manager, executed a master stroke with the New Orleans Saints, by trading #48, and #116 for picks #62, and #202, and a 2020 second round pick. This move did come at some cost, (the 48th overall was positioned to get you any one of many good players available) but there was another shoe to drop soon. The Dolphins then quickly pivoted to shipping the 62nd overall, and a 2020 5th round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for former 10th overall pick in 2018, quarterback Josh Rosen.

Good trade, bad trade? What always matters is the player. Rosen was demonstrably awful last season, and on the face of it, this is a bad trade.

But no, what is the downside, asks the optimist.

“You got a 2020 2nd rounder.”

“He is not owed any real money.”

“He can still develop.”

These are the things being said to justify this trade. Yes, you recovered a 2nd rounder in the trade with New Orleans. But that does not make the picks you traded for Rosen expendable. Just the opposite. They are a waste. A channel trade made for a short term gain, with little chance for growth and, in my view, much greater downside potential than people think.


Full disclosure, I would have taken Josh Rosen at #11 in the 2018 NFL Draft, and said so on our 2018 NFL Draft Preview on the Three Yards Per Carry podcast.

I am not doing an “about face” however. I am making a new decision based on further information. You have outliers such as Troy Aikman, players that had very rough rookie campaigns that then went on to successful careers. But usually, if a QB prospect is destined to be good, he tends to show it right away. So, Rosen had some moments however, that make you think there is “more” there? Right? Right? Hello?

No. He did not. This is not hyperbole.

Josh Rosen played 14 games as a rookie. Of those 14 games, Rosen had below league average numbers, in completions, yards and passer rating in all 14 games. He had above league average numbers in QBR and yards per attempt once. Rosen’s 2018 campaign was historic in its futility, and it is rare,that a rookie QB never, ever, not once, shows any promise during that season. Rosen also managed to be extremely careless with the football. His 14 interceptions and his 10 fumbles made this one of the worst QB seasons in NFL history.

But he went 10th overall, and you get him for #62 this year!

No. He went 10th overall, and depreciated into a trade to recoup assets that were used to move up in 2018, while declaring a total loss. This was a liquidation sale. This trade, by any measure, was lopsided in Arizona’s favor. Josh Rosen had/has no value. The Cardinals had no leverage. The Dolphins accommodated Arizona by buying its quickly depreciating asset. Why? What for? The Dolphins now own that asset, and all that comes with it. The poor play, the whispers of his difficult personality, the wasted time devoted to his development, and the risk that it endangers plans to explore the 2020 QB class.

Even if the most likely scenario happens (Josh Rosen flames out in 2019, and the Dolphins are right in the thick of the QB prospect derby) you are still out the picks you paid for essentially a backup QB. This was wasteful management of draft capital. Think of this: What would Rosen need to do, short of becoming a star in year 2, to justify this trade? There is no way you won’t entertain the stacked QB class of 2020. So #62 and a 2020 5th rd. pick for a 1 year rental? For what? The surest way to damage the franchise, and get yourself and others around you fired is to keep buying increasing shares of depreciating assets. That is what occurred here. I remain hopeful about Chris Grier, but no longer as optimistic. As a fan of the team, I want him to succeed, so Josh Rosen just gained a big fan, but a short term outlook and chasing the assets of yesterday are a bad look and, worse, a bad sign.


Alfredo Arteaga (@UptownReport) is a host of Three Yards Per Carry. Photo screenshot taken from @Josh3Rosen.

4 replies
  1. Roby
    Roby says:

    One more thing to consider: Josh Rosen is nearly 2 full years younger than Baker Mayfield. Rosen’s 2019 Arizona season is not his final product. There is plenty of time for him to grow and learn. And I’m pretty sure we will provide more stability and a more nurturing environment than Arizona did last year. What a shit show that was.

  2. Roby
    Roby says:

    Nice article. Good way of looking at it- I really liked the investment angle. Draft picks are great to have. The good teams value their draft picks and make good use of them. Over the last 20 years, the Pats have selected 9 Pro Bowlers in the 1st round (plus Nate Solder- who somehow has never made a Pro Bowl). Meanwhile, Miami only picked 4, despite selecting much higher every year). All of that is true, and if we are to turn things around it is going to be on the back of better drafting.

    But…yu are overlooking the most important thing–position premium. We could have kept Tannehill and keep drafting Pro Bowlers over the next 3 years and where is that going to get us? To 9-7 ,at best? In 9 of the last 10 years, we have finished the season with 6-8 wins. We are mediocre and if we want to stop being mediocre, we need a QB. And paying a late 2nd for a QB with first-round pedigree, upside, and youth is absurdly cheap. So with the 2nd round pick we could roll the dice with Rosen, or we could have kept the pick and drafted another Mike Gesicki, Raekeon McMillan, Jordan Phillips, Jamar Taylor, Jonathan Martin, Daniel Thomas, or Pat White…

    Gimme Rosen every day of the week.

    One more thing to consider: between the Rosen trade and the Tannehill trade, we gave up a 2, 2, 4, 5, and 6. But we got a 2, 2, 4, 6, and 7 back. Distilled down, The cost of moving on from Tannehill to Rosen was essentially moving down from the 5th to 7th*. Then when you factor in that the potential $18-26 million cap hit for Tannehill becomes a 3-year/$6 million deal for Rosen (with the option for a 4th year), this is a huge win all around.

    Regardless of how Rosen pans out, this was a great trade for Miami.

    *I’m aware that our picks are a bit more valuable than the Saints picks by virtue of their expected record, but that is tough to quantify at the moment. I would also argue that pushing picks back to 2020 is a better plan (in fact, I’d like to trade everyone not named Laremy, Xavien, and Minkah for picks in 2020 and 2021). It extends our window by a year. If Flores is the guy and Grier keeps making moves like this, we can be legit contenders by 2023.

  3. Scott
    Scott says:

    I disagree with your premise. None of us know how Josh Rosen will work out in Miami. What I do know is that he is a premium talent at a premium position. His situation in Arizona last year was one of the worst imaginable – his OC was fired during the season and then replaced by Byron Leftwich, who had never been an OC before. The head coach was fired after one year, which implies he may have been in over his head in that role. His offensive line by the end of the season was made up of late round draft picks and street free agents. Lastly, based on info shared during the draft today, he was a good teammate and acted professionally.

    His skills did not go away in one year, so he’s worth this chance – given the modest salary and all the draft capital the Dolphins have for 2020. Getting Rosen does not preclude them drafting a QB high in 2020 – we have no idea if a high draft pick in 2020 will work out either. Let’s have him compete with Rosen and see who wins.

    Bringing in Rosen is a no-brainer win for me. Most of the national media seems to think so too – almost all of the negativity is coming from the Miami-based media, the same group that wanted a QB last year and competition for Tannehill.


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