Study: Does Josh Dobbs Have Any Trade Value?

Devlin Hodges has burst onto the scene and – as crazy as it is to think about this – making a legitimate push to be the Pittsburgh Steelers #3 QB this year. Mason Rudolph isn’t going anywhere meaning the odd man out would be Josh Dobbs. And that’s led to the predictable and fair question of what to do with Dobbs. Cut him? An obvious choice if you’re moving on. But can you trade him? Is there a market for him? Every situation is different but let’s look at recent history to see if there might be one and if so, what the team could get for him.

The question I had: does Dobbs’ lack of experience and regular season reps nullify his trade value? Through his first two full seasons, he’s attempted just 12 passes, played in five games, and started zero of them.

To answer that, I looked at all quarterback trades over the last six years, 2014 to 2019. I broke it down based on the number of pass attempts, games played, and games started by every quarterback (at the time of the trade, obviously) dealt over that time span. There’s been 23 such trades, listed below.

QB (Year Traded) Career Attempts Career Games Career Starts
Ryan Mallett (2014) 4 4 0
TJ Yates (2014) 166 13 5
Blaine Gabbert (2014) 777 28 27
Matt Cassel (2015) 2369 90 71
Sam Bradford (2015) 1760 49 49
Nick Foles (2015) 893 28 24
Ryan Fitzpatrick (2015) 2911 97 87
Case Keenum (2015) 330 10 10
Matt Barkley (2015) 50 4 0
Sam Bradford (2016) 2292 63 63
Jimmy Garoppolo (2017) 94 17 2
Jacoby Brissett (2017) 55 3 2
Cardale Jones (2017) 11 1 0
Brett Hundley (2018) 326 15 9
Kevin Hogan (2018) 101 8 1
Cody Kessler (2018) 218 12 8
Trevor Siemian (2018) 835 26 24
DeShone Kizer (2018) 476 15 15
Tyrod Taylor (2018) 1271 58 43
Alex Smith (2018) 4613 156 151
Josh Rosen (2019) 393 14 13
Ryan Tannehill (2019) 2911 88 88
Joe Flacco (2019) 5670 163 163


Most of those quarterbacks have a somewhat extensive Sunday resume. Much more than Dobbs. But there are six with similar production as he does. Let’s take a closer look at those six and what their trade value was.

Ryan Mallet: 7th round pick
Matt Barkley: Conditional 7th round pick
Jimmy Garoppolo: 2nd Round Pick
Jacoby Brissett: Player for Player (WR Phillip Dorsett)
Cardale Jones: Conditional 7th Round Pick
Kevin Hogan: Swap 6th Round Picks, Moved Up 17 spots

Though Garoppolo hadn’t played much when he was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers, he was a 2nd round pick and thought of much higher than Dobbs or any of the other quarterbacks on this list. Putting him aside, no other quarterback with similar production went for anything more than a 7th round pick or in Hogan’s case, a minor 6th round swap (which essentially worked out as the same value as an early 7th round pick).

So bottom line? It will be tough to get something for Dobbs. A 5th or 6th round pick seems like an absolute longshot. Teams value picks too much, half the league carries only two quarterbacks these days, and Dobbs hasn’t played well (or often) enough to generate that type of compensation.

Could a team emerge and offer the Steelers something at the last second? Sure. No one is beholden to history. But good luck identifying a team, especially now that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Josh McCown.

The reality is the players who get traded, across all positions, not just quarterbacks, have done something on Sunday’s. Maybe their tape isn’t great but it’s against top competition and creates a cleaner and more accurate evaluation than trading for someone who has primarily played only in the preseason. Look at who the Steelers have traded for and brought in.

Traded For

Justin Gilbert
Vance McDonald
Brandon Boykin
JJ Wilcox
Ryan Switzer
Josh Scobee
Dashaun Phillips

Traded Away

Ross Cockrell
Sammie Coates
Brad Wing
Lucas Crowley

Crowley and Phillips aside (those two were swapped), every player dealt and received had regular season tape. Dobbs simply doesn’t, aside from the Raiders game, which isn’t tape you want to put on display if you’re trying to move a guy.

Bottom line. Best case scenario. Dobbs goes somewhere (Jacksonville? Dallas?) for a conditional 7th round pick, likely contingent on him making and staying on the roster throughout the year. Just like Cardale Jones.

Don’t get your hopes up.

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