The New York Giants contingent, speaking at the NFL Combine last week, embraced what they’re calling the “Kansas City model” for finding their next franchise quarterback. So the Giants intend to keep veteran quarterback Eli Manning as their starter in 2019 and draft a quarterback in the first round presumably to take over in 2020 — much like the Chiefs did with Alex Smith after they selected Patrick Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 daft.
Smith took the Chiefs to the playoffs in 2017. And Mahomes, ready after a season of mostly sitting and learning, burst onto the scene in 2018, taking the team to the AFC Championship game.
Cool model if you can find the right players.
There’s another QB acquisition model out there not many folks know about because it hasn’t fully evolved yet. In fact, it hasn’t even been executed yet.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
It’s the Arizona model.
And I’m telling you the Miami Dolphins need to absolutely avoid coming anywhere close to following this model in 2019 because it’s not a good look.
So what is the Arizona model?
Well, the Cardinals are not a good team. Not good because the Dolphins are not a good team, which means they can closely follow the template.
So the Cardinals last year decided they needed a franchise quarterback to lift them out of their sad state. And in identifying that player, the Cards traded away a couple of draft picks to move up five spots to pick Josh Rosen No. 10 overall.
That was 11 months ago.
And now, 11 months later, the Cardinals have fired their last year’s coach after one whole season. And new coach Kliff Kingsbury comes to the team with a history of recruiting, befriending and believing in Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
And Murray and Kingsbury are doing everything, it seems, to make sure the Cardinals take the Heisman Trophy winner No. 1 overall — Josh Rosen or no Josh Rosen.
(Among the things that had to come together for this to become a possibility are Kingsbury improbably getting the Arizona job after being fired at Texas Tech, and being the same guy last October who said he’d pick Murray No. 1 overall if he had the pick. Now, coincidentally, he has the pick.
Murray, meanwhile, played great at Oklahoma last year, which translates to a game tape that is simply electrifying if you watch it. And he measured at 5-10 1/8 at the Combine, prompting everyone to suggest he’s big enough for the NFL and definitely good enough to be No. 1 overall to Arizona.)
See where all this seems headed?
See where this can get uncomfortable for Rosen?
The Cardinals probably overdrafted Rosen because they were desperate and the player kind of seemed good enough to merit their pick.
But now that Rosen completed an unimpressive 55.2 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a rookie, the Cardinals may want to pick Murray one draft later. Because Murray was a better college player than Rosen and might be a better NFL quarterback as well.
Folks, there’s a reason bad teams are bad.
They do unwise things.
And, understand, the unwise thing is not that Arizona might select Murray. The unwise thing was reaching for Rosen last year giving up multiple picks, including a third-rounder, in the trade-up process.
The Miami Dolphins, by the way, “liked” Rosen last year but “had concerns,” too, according to a team source. They were troubled by issues of demeanor or personality, according to the source, and felt Rosen “is not real.”
The two quarterbacks the Dolphins liked instead in the first round of last year’s draft were Sam Darnold and Josh Allen — both of whom are now playing in the AFC East.
Anyway, back to the Arizona plan …
The Cardinals would have been better off passing on Rosen and drafting a player at another position that could help them rebuild longterm. Instead, they took Rosen, finished 3-13, and might now have to try a redo at quarterback this year.
And if that is the attempt, the Cardinals will probably try to trade Rosen. And they definitely will not get the same first-round-plus value they gave up for him. One NFL general manager told Peter King of Football Morning In America that Arizona might get a third-round pick for Rosen.
Which leads me back to the Dolphins.
They will have an opportunity in the first round of the upcoming draft to pick a quarterback if they wish. Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins will probably be gone by the time Miami picks at No. 13. But one of those guys from the group of Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, Will Grier and alike will be there.
And the temptation will be to pick the highest available quarterback from that bunch and paint him as a franchise quarterback. Except the chances of him actually being a true franchise NFL QB based on what any of them showed in college are slim.
Then the Dolphins might find themselves back in the same position in 2020, perhaps understanding they need to address a major mistake, and perhaps looking at Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert as the way to do that.
And what would the Dolphins have to show for their attempt to fix the issue in ‘19? A mistake, just like the Cardinals probably have. The Dolphins might be in the position to exchange a first-round pick for a guy not worthy of the selection and then have to give up on that mistake in exchange for middling pick down the road.
Please don’t do this, Miami Dolphins.
Resist the urge to overdraft a quarterback this season. Because next season, when your ‘19 failure is apparent, you’ll need to address the problem again. Or worse …
The worst thing that could happen is the Dolphins pick a guy this draft who isn’t great. And then they try to raise him into something great. They spend resources of time and capital and years on him.
And soon we’re seven years down the road before someone finally realizes it was all a mistake.
Have you missed the past seven years of Miami Dolphins history?
The only thing worse than picking the wrong quarterback in the first round is failing to divest of that mistake as quickly as possible.
Even the Arizona Cardinals seem unlikely to make that secondary mistake because most people believe they’re about to divest of Rosen by next month. In that regard, the Cardinals will seem smarter than the Dolphins did after 2012.
One more thing: I’ve had multiple people ask whether the Dolphins would be interested in Rosen if/when he becomes available in trade.
You just read the team wasn’t comfortable picking Rosen in the first round last year. So the emotional, perhaps injudicious answer would be no.
But thinking on this more deeply, I would not completely dismiss it. Suppose, for example, the Dolphins can get Rosen for a fifth-round draft pick. (Yeah, I’m not buying high on this kid). Then why not take that chance?
If Rosen suddenly plays up to his physical potential while overcoming his other issues, the Dolphins have a bargain on their hands. If he doesn’t, the investment of a mid-round pick is easily to dismissed if Miami moves on.
That, by the way, is not the Arizona model. The Arizona model is overdrafting for a QB in the first round one year and then having to correct the error by drafting another quarterback in the first round the following year.
The Arizona model is dumb.
But trading a fifth or maybe fourth rounder for a young, cheap QB one year and quickly getting rid of him if it doesn’t work out is something totally different. That’s a different model.
Of course, that’s not he best model. And I propose the Dolphins go with the best model. The best model is the Dolphins wait until they’re in position to draft a legitimately great quarterback and if that means waiting a year, and suffering some lumps because of it, then so be it.
That model beats the Arizona model every time.
Maybe the Dolphins can follow their own model.