The Washington Football Team re-signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke on Wednesday to a two-year, $8.75m contract extension.
Heinicke was out of football and taking college classes online when Washington signed him to the practice squad in December. An injury to Alex Smith and the release of season-starter Dwayne Haskins thrust him into action late in the year, and he made his NFL playoff debut in a Wild Card loss to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 27-year-old impressed in the game, completing 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while also rushing for a team-high 46 yards and a score.
The Old Dominion college QB, who bounced around the league for several seasons – including stops in Minnesota, Houston and Carolina – described news of his return with Washington as “a big sigh of relief”.
“It’s a good feeling,” Heinicke told Washington senior vice president of media and content Julie Donaldson on Wednesday. “Everyone knows I was at home taking math classes, so it’s a big sigh of relief. I’m really excited.
“This is the place I wanted to be, so everything came together pretty smoothly, and I’m really excited to be back.”
Heinicke will now be in Washington’s quarterback mix for the 2021 season, one which remains very much in flux. Head coach Ron Rivera has indicated backup QB Kyle Allen will be back but has been noncommittal about whether Comeback Player of the Year winner, 36-year-old Alex Smith, will be on the roster for next season.
Washington could also trade for or sign a veteran to compete with Heinicke and Allen, or use their No 19 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a college prospect.
“We all saw how Taylor Heinicke played in the playoff game,” Washington’s executive vice president of personnel and football Marty Hurney said. “First, you start with evaluating your roster. Then you look at the quarterbacks that are out there.
“A lot of times it’s all about timing in the draft, what position you’re in and who’s out there available.”
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