The Washington Football Team can clinch the NFC East if it beats the Panthers this weekend and if the Giants lose to the Ravens. However, WFT’s quarterback situation is suddenly uncertain.
According to John Keim of ESPN.com (via Twitter), quarterback Dwayne Haskins — who opened the season as the starting signal-caller before being benched in early October — is seen without a mask at a strip club in photos recently posted to social media. Haskins was allegedly at the club after Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.
Per Keim, the team was aware of the photos yesterday and was trying to decide how to handle the matter. WFT has elected to deal with it internally, but it has been in contact with the union (Twitter links).
It’s worth noting that the team did fine Haskins for a COVID-19 protocol violation earlier this year, when the second-year pro invited a family friend to the team hotel before a game. And as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets, going to a nightclub without personal protective equipment (read: a mask) is considered high-risk conduct punishable by a fine or up to a four-game suspension.
Pelissero adds that Washington has no plans to release Haskins, but if it suspends him, it could potentially void the remainder of the guarantees in Haskins’ fully-guaranteed rookie deal. The Ohio State product has quickly fallen out of favor with WFT, which was reportedly open to trading him before this year’s deadline. Presumably, Haskins will be a trade candidate again this offseason, and a void of his remaining guarantees would also make him a release candidate.
Alex Smith, who has posted a 4-1 record as Washington’s starting QB this year, missed Sunday’s game against Seattle due to a strained calf. His status for this weekend’s critical matchup with Carolina remains in doubt. If Smith is unavailable, and if Haskins were to be suspended, WFT would turn to Taylor Heinicke or UDFA rookie Steven Montez.
On the year, Haskins is just 1-4 with a 77.7 quarterback rating. In Smith’s absence on Sunday, he completed 38 of 55 passes for 295 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. He issued a public apology via Twitter this morning.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.