The Cardinals are reportedly shopping quarterback Josh Rosen after they selected him with the No. 10 pick in last year’s draft. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Sports Columnist

Are the Redskins desperate enough to trade for a quarterback who’s coming off a dismal rookie season just because he fits under the salary cap and can be used as a new marketing tool? Buyer beware.

The Arizona Cardinals are looking to unload 2018 first-rounder Josh Rosen after he went 3-10 as a starter last season. It seems his 14 interceptions and 66.7 passer rating were bad enough for the Cardinals to want to draft a replacement with the No. 1 pick on April 25. Most likely, they will go with Kyler Murray after he measured up well last week at the NFL combine.

The Redskins are reluctant to admit that Alex Smith won’t be ready to return this fall from a broken leg, and coach Jay Gruden claims to have complete faith in Colt McCoy. But as the Redskins play coy, they are also linked to every available passer leaguewide.

Washington just has to be careful not to pull another Donovan McNabb trade.

Why would the Redskins want someone else’s reject? If your friend hated his new car because it ran poorly and offered it to you for nearly full price, wouldn’t you think twice about buying it? The Redskins need to go slow here. If someone beats them to trading for Rosen, so be it.

Sure, the Redskins’ tight salary cap would make the three seasons Rosen has left on his rookie contract very attractive. Washington doesn’t even have $10 million to spend on a journeyman free agent passer. The Redskins need someone much cheaper.

With the No. 15 overall draft pick, Washington would have to settle for the fourth- or fifth-best passer in this draft class, and that would be a big reach. There doesn’t appear to be a receiver worth taking that high, either. That means the Redskins could target an edge rusher or safety at No. 15, but it would probably be best to trade down for more picks rather than forcing a selection.


Josh Rosen poses with commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Arizona Cardinals during the first round of the NFL football draft in 2018. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Rosen was chosen No. 10 overall last year, so the Cardinals will want the Redskins’ No. 15 pick. Arizona will pretend there’s a bidder’s market to tempt Washington into overpaying for Rosen, who’s really worth a third-rounder — maybe a late second-rounder — at most. Washington is known for overpaying in trades under owner Dan Snyder, and he desperately needs a marketable passer to sell tickets. McCoy won’t sell peanuts at FedEx Field, much less seats.

Still, if Arizona wants to dump a first-round quarterback after one year, there’s a big reason. Why should Washington pay for the Cardinals’ mistake? Giving up a third-rounder for Rosen would be a reasonable deal, and the Redskins will probably be tempted to offer a second. But a first — that’s insanity.

Rosen had limited talent around him and is supposedly better than he showed last season. But the Redskins’ offense isn’t filled with game-breakers, either. Washington needs a fire-sale price or it will get burned.

Read more from Rick Snider:

5 players the Redskins should watch at the NFL Scouting Combine

History says maybe the Redskins should think twice about drafting a QB

It’s time for D.C. to make its push to seal a Redskins stadium deal