Let’s assume, for now, that former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns. Let’s also assume, for now, that the comments from former UCLA coach Jim Mora about Rosen are aimed at persuading the Browns not to draft Rosen — even if those remarks could scare away other teams, too.
If Rosen truly hopes to not play for the Browns, and if the Browns fail to get or heed the message, what happens next?
Rosen could try to get the Browns to trade him to another team, in the same way that Eli Manning got the Chargers to draft him and quickly trade him to the Giants in 2004. If the Browns refuse, Rosen could sit out the year and re-enter the draft in 2019.
If the report from November is accurate that Rosen was considering returning to school for another year in lieu of potentially being drafted by the Browns, the logical alternative if picked by the Browns becomes telling them “no thanks” and entering the draft pool again next year. It’s actually a better approach; if Rosen had chosen to remain in school, he still could have been drafted by the Browns in 2019. If the Browns draft Rosen and he stiffs them this year, the Browns wouldn’t draft him again next year.
“I’d rather be a lower pick at the right team than a higher [pick] at the wrong team,” Rosen said in December. Surely, Rosen would also rather wait a year to have a better chance at getting to the right team. Or, at a minimum, to avoid the wrong team.
Whether it’s because he’s a “millennial” or for some other reason, Rosen thinks what he wants and says what he thinks. While he may be wisely keeping his desire to avoid the Browns close to the vest for now, it’s hard to imagine Rosen willingly accepting a career path with which he doesn’t agree.
Incoming NFL players routinely set aside what they want because they accept that, at least at the outset of their careers, they believe they can’t get it. Rosen possibly believes he can. If he does, he shouldn’t be afraid to try.