- The Washington Football Team has signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year contract extension.
- Washington inked Heinicke to its practice squad in early December before promoting him to their main roster later that month.
- With Alex Smith injured, Heinicke started for the WFT in their first playoff game since 2015.
After years of hard work and determination, Taylor Heinicke has found his NFL home.
On Wednesday, the Washington Football Team re-signed Heinicke to a two year deal worth a reported $8.75M with financial incentives attached, depending on how many games he starts. Heinicke rose from being a member of the WFT’s practice squad in early December to its starter during their wild card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We’ve re-signed QB Taylor Heinicke.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) February 10, 2021
Undrafted in 2015
Heinicke was a two-time FCS All-American at Old Dominion. He was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year and recipient of the Walter Payton Award in 2012. In 2013, he became just the 18th QB from Division I to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. After the season, he finished in the Top 10 among FBS quarterbacks in passing yards, passing yards per game, and passing touchdowns.
The 27-year old was undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent, playing for current Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who was the only NFL coach who visited Heinicke during his pro day. After spending two years with the Vikings, Heinicke spent time with the practice squads of the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans.
In 2018, Heinicke was claimed off the waivers by the Carolina Panthers who were then coached by current Washington head coach Ron Rivera. He appeared in six games, with one start. In that start, Heinicke completed 33 of 53 passes for 270 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He suffered an elbow injury which placed him on the injury reserve.
Starting in the Playoffs
Taylor Heinicke will start at quarterback. Alex Smith is inactive pic.twitter.com/eS4nb6BMqW
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) January 9, 2021
Heinicke had been out of the NFL since the final cuts for the 2019 season were made. He went back and forth living with his mother and sister, and was taking math classes at Old Dominion when the Washington Football Team signed him to their practice squad on December 8, 2020.
He was promoted to the team’s active roster later in December and saw his first action in Week 16 when he relieved Dwayne Haskins against the Carolina Panthers. Heinicke led one touchdown drive and had another scoring toss nullified because of a penalty in a losing effort.
With Alex Smith suffering from a bone bruise, Heinicke earned the start when the Washington Football Team faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild card round. He threw for 306 yards with one touchdown and one interception while completing 26-44 passes. Heinicke also showed his mobility, scrambling for an 8-yard TD run that ended with him diving for the pylon.
Taylor Freakin’ Heinicke
TAYLOR Heinicke TAKES IT ALL THE WAY 😱
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 10, 2021
Down 18-10 against the eventual Super Bowl champions, Heinicke engineered a 61-yard drive which featured a pair of spectacular runs from the quarterback. On 3rd and 5 from the Tampa Bay eight, Heinicke avoided two defenders who collapsed the pocket and then scrambled left. He dove for the pylon despite having a group of Tampa Bay defenders in front of him. Washington missed the ensuing two-point conversion but cut the lead to 18-16.
The Bucs went on to win the game, and Super Bowl LV. But Heinicke’s efforts were not left unnoticed. He became an instant fan favorite and won over his teammates. Defensive End Chase Young famously called him “Taylor Freaking Heinicke” after the dive while receiver Terry McLaurin stopped him after the game to let Heinicke know he appreciated him. Even Patrick Mahomes praised him on Twitter for his efforts.
Kyle Allen is an exclusive-rights free agent whom the team’s coaches like. Washington still has Alex Smith under contract for two years although his future is uncertain. The undrafted Steven Montez is also still with the team. Heinicke’s signing may be nothing more than securing a primary backup and provide depth. But it’s proof that dreams do come true when you work hard for it.