The Dolphins’ top quarterbacks are battling to start for Miami. While 36-year old Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s played for eight teams during his 15-year NFL career, seems to be the frontrunner, it’s more likely that Josh Rosen, the second-year player traded from Arizona, will be the opening day starter. Here are three reasons why the 22-year-old will start over Fitzpatrick:
1. The Dolphins need a franchise QB
Since Dan Marino retired in 2000, the Dolphins haven’t had a true franchise quarterback. Miami traded QB Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans after seven inconsistent years with the Dolphins.
Miami faces a major rebuild, and finding an answer at quarterback is a top priority. Right now, the Dolphins’ only long-term QB prospect is Rosen. The 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, he moved to the Dolphins earlier this year when the Cardinals selected quarterback Kyler Murray first overall.
The Dolphins haven’t had much time with Rosen yet. And Miami can only figure out if he can be a franchise quarterback if they start the UCLA alum. Rosen warming the bench won’t help the Dolphins’ long-term plan.
Next year’s draft adds another layer to the team’s QB dilemma. Miami will likely have a high pick in the 2020 NFL draft due to their tough schedule and lack of talent.
With the chance to draft quarterbacks Justin Herbert (University of Oregon) or Tua Tagovailoa (University of Alabama), the Dolphins must find out if Rosen is a franchise quarterback ASAP. The team can’t afford to pass on a quarterback in the 2020 draft because they’re undecided about Rosen.
2. Neither the team nor Rosen benefits from starting Fitzpatrick
A trend in the NFL is for young quarterbacks to get playing time during their first year. Last year, all five first-round QBs started at least one game during the season. (Rosen started 13 games for the Cardinals.)
At this point, sitting Rosen doesn’t benefit the team. He’s already had a year to acclimate to the NFL. Since the Dolphins are rebuilding anyway, winning games shouldn’t be a high priority. It makes sense for Rosen to get as many game reps as possible in order to help him develop.
Plus, starting Fitzpatrick may hurt the Dolphin’s 2020 draft status. As part of this rebuild, the Dolphins want to get the highest draft picks possible. While Fitzpatrick may win a few more games as the starter, it lowers Miami’s chance to get a higher draft pick.
3. Rosen will keep fans engaged
Fans are angry about the Tannehill era. In the last decade, the Dolphins have had only one winning season. Many supporters feel like the franchise has been stuck for too long. Playing Fitz will only make this worse. While he may have some strong games during the season, the veteran will likely follow them up with some bad ones.
With Fitzpatrick’s inconsistent play, fans want to see how Rosen can develop. Starting Rosen will engage doubtful fans. With the young QB, the Dolphins can sell hope and an evaluation period of Rosen as the starter. It makes sense to prioritize him over Fitzpatrick.