The Washington Football Team has agreed to terms on a 2-year extension for QB Taylor Heinicke, sources say, worth $8.75M. There are also incentives depending on how many games he starts. Real security for their resilient QB who started and impressed in the playoff game.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2021
Heinicke’s career at Old Dominion was nothing short of remarkable. Throwing for a shade under 15,000 passing yards and 154 touchdowns, Heinicke lit it up for the Big Blue. Heinicke ended up being an undrafted free agent signing of the Minnesota Vikings in 2015. The Quarterback also spent some time with the Patriots, Texans, and Panthers from 2017-2018. As NFL opportunities began to dry up, Heinicke would wait for his next shot in professional football.
Career revival (of sorts)
The XFL, a spring football league known for its hot start in 2001, only to fold a year later, announced a reimagined version in 2019. The league set out to be something different. Learning from its mistakes and misfortunes from the early 2000s, the XFL searched for players to develop and hone their skills. the overarching theme for the XFL 2.0 was to be a developmental league, not one that would compete directly with the powerhouse that is the National Football League.
Heinicke took a chance and signed on with the XFL, playing for the St. Louis BattleHawks. With a rabid fan base in St. Louis, this looked to be the perfect landing spot for the Quarterback. Enter Jordan Ta’amu. The Quarterback from Ole Miss would be competing for the starting gig alongside Heinicke in St. Louis. After an intense competition, it was Ta’amu who emerged as the 1st string QB for the BattleHawks.
All you Need is an Opportunity
After the XFL shut its doors due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, Heinicke, like many other XFL players, was out of a job. Months went by until a quarterback-needy team came calling. The Washington Football Team inked Heinicke to a practice squad deal on December 8th of mast year. It did not take long for WFT to promote Heinicke. They moved the QB to the active roster on December 19th. Amidst a flurry of quarterback injury and uncertainty on the team, one signal-caller rose to the top of the depth chart. Heinicke wound up relieving former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins of his duties in week 16 against the Carolina Panthers.
After sitting out in Week 17 in favor of eventual Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith, Heinicke would start Washington’s wildcard playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though it was its first postseason start, Heinicke more than looked the part. Going 26 of 44 with 306 passing yards, and compiling one passing and one rushing touchdown, WFT put up quite a scare of the higher-seeded Bucs. Although Washington would lose the game 31-23, Heinicke impressed the masses with his gutsy performance. He suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter, yet returned and finished out the game. Players on the Washington sideline took notice of the QB’s desire to finish out the game and a chance for a comeback.
Taylor Heinicke is the latest example of why spring football in some form or fashion is warranted. With his career potentially over in professional football, a chance for a resurgence came via the XFL. While Washington’s quarterback situation still sits in a state of flux, they have secured a player who may have his best days ahead of him. This story isn’t over yet. The legend that is Taylor Heinicke looks to be filled with many more chapters. So, don’t go putting your cap back on your pen just yet. Heinicke’s career revival in the NFL looks to be beginning right before our eyes.
Header Pic Credit
(Credit: ST. LOUIS, MO – FEBRUARY 29: St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Taylor Heinicke (6) warms up before an XFL game between the Seattle Dragons and the St. Louis BattleHawks, on February 29, 2020, at The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, MO. Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)