Hours after the Browns announced Joshua Dobbs as their backup quarterback for 2023, Dobbs is suddenly a candidate to be a starting quarterback for another team. The Cardinals announced Thursday night they have acquired the veteran via trade, just over two weeks before Arizona is set to open the season without rehabbing starter Kyler Murray.
The 28-year-old Dobbs goes to the Cardinals along with a 2024 seventh-round draft pick in exchange for a 2024 fifth-rounder, per NFL Media. With Murray still recovering from an ACL tear, Dobbs is expected to join the club’s competition for QB1 duties.
Veteran backup Colt McCoy has remained atop the Cardinals’ tentative depth chart in Murray’s absence, but fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune has also been speculated as a candidate to fill in under center. Reserves David Blough and Jeff Driskel are also under contract at QB, but Arizona must trim its offseason roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 29.
Dobbs, who had signed with the Browns in March to back up Deshaun Watson, reunites with former Cleveland staffer Drew Petzing, the Cardinals’ new offensive coordinator, in Arizona. He also has a connection to new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort, who was in the Titans front office when Dobbs made two emergency starts for Tennessee late in the 2022 season.
It’s possible the preseason play of Browns rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson played a part in Dobbs’ abrupt departure. A fifth-round pick out of UCLA this year, Thompson-Robinson has been one of the most productive QBs of this year’s exhibition slate, leading some to believe he might usurp Dobbs as Watson’s top backup.
Here are the trade grades below:
Dorian Thompson-Robinson proved in the preseason he’s at least got the tools to be an NFL-caliber backup, and Dobbs, while decent on short notice for the Titans in 2022, isn’t nearly as experienced as you might think, appearing in a grand total of eight games in his six NFL seasons. Shedding his one-year, $2 million deal as a low-end No. 2 to move up in the 2024 draft is pretty solid. More importantly, it paves the way for Thompson-Robinson to get more reps as Deshaun Watson insurance.
Dobbs is a reasonable addition to a mishmash of largely unexciting fill-ins for Kyler Murray, and in fact may well end up winning whatever competition occurs between now and the end of the 2023 season. But does he justify surrendering the equivalent of a sixth-rounder? Especially after the team dumped former first-rounder Isaiah Simmons for even less? Maybe. Maybe not. Arizona is clearly operating with 2024 in mind, and this probably won’t affect them too much one way or another.