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How much salary cap space would be used in a trade for Josh Rosen?

He might be cheaper than you think

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The question of “How much would you trade for Josh Rosen?” is one that splits fans into different and divided camps, and the answer depends on how you see him.

Some see him as a failed NFL QB being dumped by his team and figure he’s worth nothing at all.

Others see him as a talented player who was in a terrible situation as a rookie, and see him as a great opportunity for the Redskins.

If you think Rosen has any shot at being an NFL quarterback, and you might be open to the idea of trading for him, then a key part of evaluating his value to the Redskins, who have around $20m per year in salary cap space devoted to Alex Smith in 2019 and 2020, is understanding how much salary cap space Rosen would eat up.

The answer might surprise you.

I read one very informed Redskins fan suggest this week that Rosen would cost the Redskins “a hair below $5m” per season for the next three years. In other words, he was thinking that Rosen might cost the Redskins a total of around $15m in his remaining contract.

Due to the magic of NFL salary cap rules, this isn’t quite right.

See, when a player is traded, the signing bonus he received is charged in full to the team that paid it to him (in Rosen’s case, the Cardinals), and the team that receives the player only takes on the unpaid portion of his remaining contract.

So, what does Rosen’s contract look like?

Everything in that “Prorated Bonus” column belongs to the Cardinals. There is nothing they do can make it go away.

The $480,000 base salary in 2017 is already gone too.

The Redskins, if they traded for Rosen, would inherit the remaining portion of his contract.

$17,597,760 - 10,878,372 - 480,000 = $6,239,388

Washington would get Rosen’s services for three years at a total of just over $6.2m.

Here’s the breakdown of salary cap hits:

2019 = 1,279,898

2020 = 2,079,796

2021 = 2,879,694

If you feel that Rosen is just a bad quarterback, then it doesn’t really matter how little salary cap space he will use up; I understand that.

For fans who see him as competent or better, then it might be important to realize that Rosen’s contract for three years would cost the Redskins about $500,000 less than they will pay Colt McCoy for two years (2018-19), in which McCoy will earn $6.7m.

Rosen’s contract will make him dirt cheap, which means that, if all he ever accomplishes is to become a backup-level NFL quarterback, his contract won’t be out of whack.

Okay, feel free to get back to the argument over how much this cheap quarterback is worth in trade value.