While the meteoric rise of Jordan Ta’amu in St. Louis precluded a Taylor Heinicke appearance in the XFL, the former BattleHawk QB2 is making waves in his new home with the Washington Football Team.
Heinicke was called on late in the season, and he delivered two highly promising performances as Washington made their first playoff run in five years. After giving the offense some life in mop-up duty for Dwayne Haskins, he led a valiant performance versus the Buccaneers in the Wild Card and flashed some electric playmaking ability.
While Tampa Bay outlasted Washington 31-23, Heinicke made his mark, and by several metrics had the best performance of any quarterback against this defense all postseason.
Taylor Heinicke, coming off a stint in the XFL showed up just in time for the playoffs, and fared better than three former MVP Quarterbacks in both total yardage and PFF rating against this defense.
Taylor Heinicke – 26/44 Passing, 306 Pass Yards, 1 TD, 1 Int, 46 Rush Yards, TD
Drew Brees – 19/34 Passing, 134 Pass Yards, 1 TD, 3 Int, 3 Rush Yards
Aaron Rodgers – 33/48 Passing 346 Pass Yards, 3 TD, 1 Int,
Patrick Mahomes – 26/49 Passing, 270 Pass Yards, 2 Int, 33 Rush Yards
QB Grades vs. TB this postseason:— PFF (@PFF) February 9, 2021
WC: Taylor Heinicke 92.0
Div: Drew Brees 48.8
CC: Aaron Rodgers 89.2
SB: Patrick Mahomes 65.8 pic.twitter.com/stD2vxcDHH
While Rodgers debatably had a better performance in certain respects as he scored one more TD and had a higher completion %, the simple fact is that Heinicke proved he could hang in the same stratosphere as four world-class quarterbacks in Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Mahomes.
His teammates rallied around him, and with this new incentive-laden deal, his NFL future is looking brighter than ever. With an average salary of over $4 Million a season, he’s getting quality backup money and will earn more in bonuses for starts and other benchmarks. As it stands, Alex Smith is the only quarterback signed on for 2021, and the team seems to have chosen Heinicke over Kyle Allen as their top backup.
Heinicke has a dynamic skillset and injected some new life into this offense when on the field, and it’s easy to see why they kept him around. He’s got experience in Ron Rivera’s system dating back to their time together in Carolina, and should he win the starting job, Washington will have a steal of a contract that will allow them to surround him with more talent.
While anything is possible in this quarterback room with trades, free agency and the draft looming, Heinicke has made his mark and Washington knows they can rely on him when called on.
Regardless of how the offseason shakes out, Taylor Heinicke has proved to the football world that he belongs in the NFL, and is set to make an even bigger impact in Washington.
While there’s a good chance Rivera could have signed Heinicke anyways when his team was in a pinch at QB, his time in the XFL showed that he was still committed to the game, and ready to go. That’s what this league is all about.
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