The short answer is yes.
Josh Rosen is an extremely talented quarterback with the potential to lead an NFL franchise, but it appears that the Cardinals are not that franchise. The Bengals should absolutely be interested in acquiring him from Arizona if they draft Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, which is a very real possibility with new head coach Kliff Kingsbury taking over.
The Cardinals drafted Rosen with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft after trading up five spots. He did not impress in his rookie campaign, but he shouldn’t be blamed for that. The Cardinals have a depleted roster and their play-calling was completely inept last season (just look at their misuse of David Johnson). In addition, the rookie seasons for first-round quarterbacks are largely insignificant to what their future has in store for them.
It may be easy to forget, but Rosen was one of the top quarterback prospects in last year’s draft class. Many experts had him ranked as high as second behind either Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield. While Rosen didn’t necessarily possess the upside that those two had, he was the most technically sound quarterback in that class. He has an excellent arm and great placement on his passes.
The main knock on Rosen was his perceived immaturity. Among other comments, he took some heat over saying he didn’t want to get drafted by the Browns — which aside from Mayfield, wasn’t an unpopular opinion a year ago. That could actually be seen as a positive in Cincinnati and would be great for the rivalry, because who the Bengals have at quarterback now will be unlikely to match Mayfield consistently for much longer.
I am a fan of Andy Dalton, but the Bengals need to start looking for his replacement. They need to be looking for the guy who can make them overnight contenders. Rosen could be that guy, and would be a great fit for Rams-like system they are presumably looking to run in 2019.
Rosen is only entering the second year of his rookie deal. This means the Bengals would save quite a bit of money if they did move on for Dalton, and they could use that money to build through free agency. Keep in mind, most of Rosen’s four-year deal has already been paid for by the Cardinals.
I’m not a Rosen fan but a great point by Peter Schrager - the Cardinals already paid him $10 million of the $17 million on his contract.— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) March 2, 2019
The Bengals should definitely be interested in Josh Rosen and should be willing to make a serious offer to get it done, even if they have to give up the 11th overall pick. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and and Missouri quarterback Drew Lock are likely to be drafted in the top ten along with Murray. If one of them fell to 11, the Bengals should take good hard look at them as well. All options need to be on the table.
If Rosen were in this year’s draft, he would likely be ranked ahead of both of those signal-callers. Rosen would be worth that kind of investment if that is what it took to get a potential franchise-changing quarterback.