The Washington Football Team locked up a quarterback who could end up starting some games in 2021. On Wednesday, Washington announced it had signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year extension. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the new deal is worth $8.75 million, and includes incentives for number of games started.
Heinicke started one game in 2020, but his performance in that game is a big reason he received a new contract this offseason. With Alex Smith banged up heading into Super Wild Card Weekend, it was Heinicke who took the field against the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Heinicke completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Bucs, and also led Washington in rushing with 46 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
While Washington suffered a 31-23 loss, Heinicke was truly the player of the game. Late in the third quarter, he led a seven-play, 61-yard drive which was capped by an incredible 8-yard scramble for a touchdown that cut the deficit to two points.
The former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion has had stints with a couple of different NFL teams, but forged a relationship with head coach Ron Rivera. It was Rivera who gave Heinicke his first-career start with the Carolina Panthers, and a big reason why Heinicke told reporters he wanted to stay in Washington.
"I love Ron," Heinicke told reporters, via JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. "I want to be back in Washington."
Rapoport notes that while Washington has now locked up Heinicke, they aren't necessarily done adding at the quarterback position. Last week, Rivera and new general manager Martin Mayhew, along with new executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney, spoke about how they want to be "smart and aggressive" in how they approach the future at quarterback this offseason. While Heinicke may not be looked at as the future under center, Washington has now locked up someone who has shown potential, and has quickly become a fan favorite.