April 20, 2024

Josh Rosen, come on down! You’re the next contestant for a Cleveland Browns backup QB spot!

In another inspired move, the Browns have signed Rosen as the 4th QB on the current roster, giving them he-of-uncertain-status Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs and now Rosen. One of those is not like the others.

Josh Rosen.

No, not because of his skin color (he is white, the others are black), but because they have good mobility, while Rosen does not.

Last year, draft analyst Kyle Crabbs told The Draft Network, “If you’re going to have lapses while you’re learning on the job, you have to have that mobility component (to offset it). (Young) QBs are going to make mistakes and errors, but do you have the ability and skill set to bail yourself out?  Rosen doesn’t.” This was published under the heading “The Cautionary Tale of Josh Rosen.”

Therefore, in the unlikely event he does see the field for meaningful snaps, Rosen would be running an offense presumably designed for a skill set he does not possess.


Rosen was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the fourth of five QB’s, at #10 by the Arizona Cardinals. The ones selected ahead of him were Baker Mayfield (Browns fans are casually acquainted with him), Sam Darnold (teammates with Mayfield as both try to reset their careers in Carolina) and Josh Allen (he’s pretty good up there in Buffalo).

The Cardinals drafted Rosen out of UCLA to back up newly signed veteran QB Sam Bradford. That arrangement didn’t last long-Bradford was pulled after three games and later released. His $15 million guaranteed payout is regarded as one of the worst free agent signings of the 2010s.

Rosen, handed the keys to a vehicle already veering off into the ditch, helped finish the job. Arizona compiled a 3-13 record and Rosen became expendable when the Cardinals used a 2019 first-round pick to select QB Kyler Murry from Oklahoma. Rosen was subsequently traded to Miami for a second and fifth-round pick. Ironically, Kyler Murray got paid today, signing a $230 million extension with Arizona.

Rosen’s year with the Dolphins was forgettable. He started three games in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick, managing to throw only one TD pass in 109 attempts. His QB rating sunk from a poor 66.7 in 2018 to a worse 52.0 in 2019.  Miami was so confident in Rosen’s potential that they spent their first-round pick in 2020 to select Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. Do you see a trend here?

Failing to find a trade partner, the Dolphins cut Rosen just before the start of the 2020 season. He was quickly signed by Tampa Bay…for their practice squad. Late in the season, the COVID year, San Francisco’s top three QBs were out so they signed Rosen to the active roster. He did not take any snaps for them.

The 49ers traded up in the first round of the 2021 draft to select (you see it coming, don’t you?) QB Trey Lance from North Dakota State. Rosen was cut in training camp but wound up with the Atlanta Falcons. Backing up Matt Ryan, Rosen threw only 11 passes, completing two to his guys and two to the other guys (one returned for a TD). Totaling only 19 yards passing, he wound up with a 0.0 rating, a number which will stay his career low because the NFL QB rating system doesn’t go negative. Atlanta violated the Rosen rule and did NOT draft a QB in the first round, but it was a down draft year for QBs.

Josh Rosen sounds like an interesting guy. His dad is Jewish and his mother is Quaker. Dad was a nationally ranked figure skater who almost made the US Olympic Team back in the mid ‘70s, and mom was captain of the lacrosse team at Princeton. He identifies as Jewish, had a bar mitzvah, went to a Catholic high school, and describes himself as “kind of an atheist.” He was an excellent tennis player in his youth, becoming a top-10 player in junior rankings before focusing on football in high school.

Rosen was ranked as the #2 QB in the 2015 high school recruiting class by 247 Sports. At UCLA he led the Bruins to a 34-point comeback in a 45-44 win over Texas A&M, throwing for 491 yards and 4 TDs. In 2017, he also set the school record for passing yards in a season.

He just is not a very good NFL quarterback, a conclusion five other NFL teams reached before letting him go.

If the Browns brought him in as an extra arm in early training camp workouts, no harm done, I suppose. It seems, though, that they would have been better served to have someone who had the potential to develop.

Unfortunately, all Josh Rosen has developed into is a huge NFL bust. He was the first one in the group of 2018 first-round QBs to reach that point but may not be the last or the highest drafted.

Small consolation, but that’s really all the upside his career seems to have at this point.

Welcome to Cleveland, Josh. At least you may be out of town before the real cold weather hits.

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