The next domino in the NFL’s QB carousel of 2021 dropped Wednesday, with the Washington Football Team signing Taylor Heinicke to a contract extension. It’s not as big a domino as Deshaun Watson or Carson Wentz, but it is meaningful.
Heinicke reportedly signed a two-year extension worth $8.75 million. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the deal includes incentives based on how many games he starts.
Heinicke, who would have been a restricted free agent, joined Washington late in 2020. He started in Week 16 and then again in the wild card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against a defense that completely shut down Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV, Heinicke completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also rushed for 46 yards and another score.
The Football Team still has Alex Smith under contract, though he continues to deal with injuries. Kyle Allen is an exclusive right free agent.
“This is a mid-level backup QB deal from the numbers,” said former Eagles team president Joe Banner. “His issue has always been more about health than anything else. He’s really struggled with that.”
Heinicke’s average annual salary of $4.375 million puts him in a range with other backups such as Chase Daniels in Detroit ($4.35 million) and Tyrod Taylor with the Chargers ($5.5 million).
The question is: Does the Football Team feel good enough about Heinicke to stay out of the market for some of the big-name quarterbacks who might be available via trade, free agency or the draft?
“I really like the signing for Washington,” said the 33rd Team’s Mike Tannenbaum. “Although Taylor is not perfect by any stretch, he’s someone that played well in the playoff game. While he’s not the long-term answer, this is a very cost-effective signing at a critical position where you can never have too many.”