Falcons sign former first-round pick Josh Rosen to back up Matt Ryan

·2 min read

Josh Rosen is back on an NFL roster.

The Atlanta Falcons announced on Tuesday that they've signed the 24-year-old free-agent quarterback. The 2018 first-round draft pick is now on his fifth NFL team in four seasons.

Rosen's latest opportunity is a product of A.J. McCarron's misfortune. Matt Ryan's backup tore his ACL in Saturday's preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins, leaving Atlanta with undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks as the only reserve quarterback on the team.

With less than three weeks before the start of the regular season, the Falcons were left scrambling for a backup, and Rosen had recently been released by the San Francisco 49ers. His release was the latest step in a rocky NFL road for the former UCLA quarterback. 

Josh Rosen is now on his fifth NFL roster since being selected 10th overall in 2018. (Charles LeClaire/Reuters)
Josh Rosen is now on his fifth NFL roster since being selected 10th overall in 2018. (Charles LeClaire/Reuters)

Rosen's winding path from Arizona to Atlanta

Rosen joined the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals as the No. 10 pick in the 2018 draft. He lasted all of one season with the Cardinals, who selected Kyler Murray first overall in the 2019 draft and traded Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for a second- and fifth-round pick. 

Rosen met a similar fate in Miami. He spent the 2019 season splitting time as Miami's starter with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then the Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa, making Rosen once again expendable. The Dolphins, however, didn't deal Rosen. They outright released him

Rosen spent part of the 2020 season on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad prior to joining the 49ers. He didn't play a regular-season snap for either team. Now he's Ryan's backup. 

Rosen made 20 appearances including 16 starts for the Cardinals and Dolphins, completing 54.8% of his passes for 142.3 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions — far from the expected production of a top-10 pick.

Barring injury to Ryan — who's missed three games in his 13-season NFL career — Rosen's not likely to see any significant action in Atlanta this season. But if Ryan gets hurt, he'll have at least one more shot to prove his NFL mettle. 

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