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Was the Cardinals’ Josh Rosen trade to Dolphins about value or belief?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Trading quarterback Josh Rosen wasn’t about doing it to be done with it, said Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.

A day after Keim proclaimed the Cardinals couldn’t have enough quarterback depth by pairing Rosen with fellow quarterback Kyler Murray, the Cardinals flipped Rosen for two draft picks, trading him to the Miami Dolphins.

Keim wouldn’t cop to being disappointed in the return value.

The general manager promised the Cardinals still believe Rosen will become a fine NFL quarterback.

“We’re very high on Josh Rosen and certainly were fine to keep him,” Keim said.

“I’ve been through enough drafts and have dealt players before or traded for players; I try not to think about how easy or hard it will be because a lot of times you let yourself down. I try not to get caught up in that and it’s more about the feel of the value.”

But it could either be argued that Rosen is a sunk cost or a lost cause.

Arizona traded the 15th, 79th and 152nd selections in 2018 to pick Rosen 10th overall. By trading him, the team is left with 5-foot-9 slot receiver Andy Isabella out of UMass, who was taken with the 62nd pick formerly owned by Miami, and the Dolphins’ 2020 fifth-round choice.

“It wasn’t as much about exactly the two (picks) or whatever it was,” Keim said. “It was really more about sort of trusting our board and what was the cut-off of the value and the difference of maybe what it would be to maybe have him on the roster instead of three guys or four guys who could contribute in immediate roles.”

Keim said the Cardinals reached their goal of picking four players through the first three rounds who were among the top 50 prospects on their board.

Directly relating that to the Rosen trade, Isabella certainly could contribute immediately in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s spread offense.

The Cardinals see him as either a slot receiver, but Keim also noted his 4.31-second 40-yard dash that makes him a potential game-changer off the bat.

Still, the general manager’s already controversial pick of Murray will be magnified greater as Rosen begins a career for a Dolphins team that could thrust him into duty sooner rather than later. Rosen will battle boom-or-bust veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job in Miami after completing just 55% of his passes for 11 touchdowns to 14 picks as a rookie last year with Arizona.

Trading Rosen simply came down to the Cardinals believing more in Murray.

Kingsbury had called Rosen “our guy” upon the assertion that Arizona might be interested in drafting Murray in February. His Murray-centric answer about that comment said it all on Friday.

“As the evaluation went on … it became evident that we felt like Kyler was a special talent, was the best player in the draft and we had to take him,” Kingsbury said.

Rosen’s future in Cardinal red appeared doubtful with his unfollowing of the Cardinals franchise earlier on social media Friday.

But it had been there since February, when Murray began thinking about his NFL future rather than pursuing a career in baseball. Keim admitted as much Friday while disputing a report that said Arizona had done nothing to build a market for the quarterback until just before the team selected Murray first overall on Thursday.

“I never actively shopped him and I’ve been clear about that all along,” Keim said. “A team has to make a hard offer and I always leave that door open.”


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