Might Rookie Rosen Outstart Bradford in 2018 With Cardinals?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 9:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 9, 2018 9:16 PM UTC

The Arizona Cardinals landed their quarterback of the future in the 2018 draft, UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BetOnline offers a prop on how much the rookie might play this season.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford might be the luckiest player in NFL history. The former Heisman winner absolutely deserved to go No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft to the Rams after a record-setting career at Oklahoma. And, yes, Bradford has been unlucky in the NFL in terms of injuries, including two serious knee surgeries.

Yet, I say the 30-year-old has been incredibly lucky because he was the top pick in the last draft before the NFL and NFLPA agreed on a rookie pay scale for first-round picks. Why would the NFLPA do that? Because rookies were signing outrageous contracts, which was taking money out of veterans’ pockets. In late July 2010, Bradford signed a six-year deal with the Rams worth up to $86 million with $50 million guaranteed, then the most in NFL history. By comparison, the 2011 top pick, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, got “only” $22 million guaranteed.

This offseason, Bradford signed a one-year, $20 million deal with the Cardinals with an additional $17.5 million guaranteed in 2019 if his option is exercised. This is the same Sam Bradford who played all of a game-and-a-half last year with the Vikings and who has played all 16 regular-season games just twice.

Why do I bring all this up? The Cardinals lost their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to retirement, this offseason. The plan all along was to find the future under center in the 2018 draft and use Bradford as a bridge QB. Arizona did just that, trading the No. 15 overall pick, No. 79 overall and No. 152 to Oakland for No. 10 to select UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Cards GM Steve Keim felt he needed to jump ahead of No. 11 Miami, which was likely to take Rosen.

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Can’t wait to throw to @LarryFitzgerald all off-season! Looking good @EAMaddenNFL #EASponsored #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/x4Wl273LBD

— Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) April 27, 2018

Rosen was the fourth quarterback selected in the draft after Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (first to Cleveland), USC’s Sam Darnold (third to the NY Jets) and Wyoming’s Josh Allen (seventh to Buffalo). Yet, most scouts called Rosen the most NFL-ready and most cerebral in the class. He started at UCLA right away as a true freshman. The only knocks on him were the fact Rosen was injury prone: He was limited to six games in 2016 due to a shoulder issue and missed one in the 2017 regular season with a concussion and then chose to sit out the Bruins’ bowl game. Rosen also has come off as rather aloof because he comes from a very wealthy family.

BetOnline is offering a few rookie quarterback props, and one is who starts more games in 2018: Rosen (-120) or Bradford (-120)? New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said after drafting Rosen that: “Bradford is our starting quarterback. We brought him in to be the starter and when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best in the business right now. As long as Sam is healthy, he’s out there. We’re going to bring Josh along.”

Keep in mind the Cardinals also have a veteran backup in Mike Glennon. Still, would it surprise anyone if Bradford got hurt this spring or Rosen simply beat him out? Rosen is definitely in a better place to succeed immediately than Mayfield, Darnold or Allen with good offensive weapons around him such as future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and superstar running back David Johnson. Rosen also will be working under a highly respected offensive coordinator in Mike McCoy, who worked a minor miracle with Denver’s Tim Tebow in 2011.

Arizona opens the season at home vs. Washington and currently that’s a pick’em on the NFL odds. I could easily see Rosen starting that game, but he’ll get more than Bradford one way or another.

Free NFL Pick: Rosen (-120)Best Line Offered: BetOnline
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