Sports Junkies explore how Washington can use Taylor Heinicke in 2021

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Matt Weyrich
·2 min read
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The Junkies explore how Washington can use Heinicke in 2021 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Football Team announced Wednesday that it re-signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal reportedly worth $8.75 million. Heinicke, a journeyman player who originally went undrafted in 2015, put together an impressive performance in Washington’s Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that proved enough to convince the team to bring him back.

After the news broke Wednesday morning, the Sports Junkies reacted on 106.7 The Fan with some ideas for how head coach Ron Rivera would utilize him moving forward.

“It’s backup money, there’s no question about it,” Eric (E.B.) Bickel said. “But it gives him a chance where they value him enough that they wouldn’t hesitate to start him. He’s not just the No. 3 guy or fighting for a job, he’s on the roster.”

With Heinicke now officially back in the fold, Washington must now determine whether to cut veteran Alex Smith. Even though he was named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Smith’s mobility was hampered by the major leg injury he sustained in 2018 and he dealt with multiple injuries down the stretch that ultimately forced Washington to start the unproven Heinicke in a playoff game.

“If Alex is gone and they draft someone at 19, Heinicke could be your Week 1 starter grooming the 19th pick,” Jason (Lurch) Bishop said. “That’s kind of surprising to me based on the fact that he played one game but I’m not the coach.”

Washington has been rumored to be interested in acquiring a quarterback this offseason, reportedly making an offer to the Detroit Lions for Matt Stafford before he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Other names that could be on the move include Deshaun Watson, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold and Carson Wentz.

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The Junkies were split on whether the Heinicke signing signaled Washington backing off from bidding for the top names available.

“If they wanna have quarterback depth and not be in a pickle — one of those guys goes down and they have to sign a street guy — I think you keep Kyle Allen because he’s super cheap…you cut Alex Smith and get rid of that $20 million and then you bring in a veteran guy that’s out there that’s relatively cheap if you want an older presence in the locker room to help manage them along,” John (Cakes) Auville said.

There's still plenty of offseason ahead, but Washington checked one significant item off its to-do list Wednesday by re-signing Heinicke.

Tune into the Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington weekdays from 6-10 a.m.