Mar 18: We now have specifics on the deal, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Heinicke’s new contract is, specifically, a two-year, $14MM deal with $6.32MM guaranteed, including a $4MM signing bonus, his 2023 base salary of $1.32MM, and his 2023 roster bonus of $1MM. He’s due a 2024 roster bonus of $1.32MM on the fifth league day of the 2024 season. He’ll also receive a per game active bonus of $40,000 for a potential season total of $680,000. Lastly, the deal has up to $3MM in playoff and playing time incentives each year that could push the contract to that maximum $20MM value.
Mar 14: The Falcons have been public about their intentions of adding depth at the quarterback position, and they are acting on it. Atlanta has agreed to terms with Taylor Heinicke on a deal, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (on Twitter). His colleague Tom Pelissero tweets that it is a two-year contract worth up to $20MM.
This deal represents a homecoming for the 29-year-old. Heinicke is also making a return to the NFC South, after he spent one season with the Panthers in 2018. That campaign was preceded by a single year in Houston, but he his of course best known for his three years with the Commanders. That span included 24 starts, and has earned him a pact carrying significant value for what is expected to be a backup role.
Heinicke found himself atop Washington’s depth chart for the 2021 campaign, but the team supplanted him with Carson Wentz this past offseason. The trade which brought in the latter was their latest attempt to find a long-term solution at the position, but things didn’t go according to plan with Wentz from both a health and performance perspective. Heinicke did still see nine starts last year, posting a 5-3-1 record with a passer rating of 89.6.
The Commanders have made it clear that 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell will enter the 2023 season as their starting quarterback, albeit one who will likely have an experienced passer behind him on the depth chart. Heinicke could have continued in his backup role in the nation’s capital, but now he will head to Atlanta, the location of another interesting quarterback situation. Desmond Ridder, the team’s third-round pick last April, took on the starting role late in the regular season in place of veteran Marcus Mariota, who like Wentz, has since been released.
When speaking about Ridder last month, Falcons owner Arthur Blank and head coach Arthur Smith both praised his performance across his four games of action. Notably, they declined to endorse him as the starter moving forward, adding that competition would be brought in. Signing Heinicke will accomplish that goal, and give the team a consistent veteran option if Ridder fails to take a step forward in his second season.
The Falcons were long named as a potential Lamar Jackson suitor, either through an offer sheet or a tag-and-trade. Not long after it became known that the Ravens were placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on the former MVP, however, Atlanta was reported to be one of several teams which will not be pursuing him. That will leave them with Ridder, and now Heinicke, occupying the top two spots on their QB depth chart.
10 comments on “Falcons To Sign QB Taylor Heinicke”
I was hoping he’d sign in Denver – as they need someone the team actually wants to play for.
Heinicke is a good backup. What’s the logic of signing him for $20 million? That’s a lot of money for a backup. And starting Heinicke is not a good play. Outside of this arm limitations, Heinicke is fragile if he plays every week.
In his favour, Heinicke is tack smart so he will pick up a new system quickly, will even be able to help the other QB’s understand the offense within weeks of arriving. I’ll enjoy watching the Falcons for the first time in a long time if Heinicke is starting.
$6.32 in guarantees makes a lot more sense, and is downright reasonable.
Agreed. I don’t mind the signing, but it does seem a bit high when most ‘tenured’ vets signing as backups are around $8m per year. Every million counts with the cap in place.
Happy for him though. Also happy for Ridder, as that should pretty much shut the door on the Falcons potentially drafting a QB in the first round this year.
Now I’m in the mood for an ice cold beer.
Would you settle for a green one leftover from yesterday?
Lamar must be blowing a gasket. Not a single word about 1 team enquiring on him. Love it!
It’s hard to give a QB that hasn’t finished the last two seasons a guaranteed contract. In Jackson’s defense, if Watson is worth 230 million guaranteed dollars, then Jackson is worth 500 million guaranteed dollars. The Browns really screwed this up!!
If the teams are equal, Deshaun Watson is the much better quarterback. Jackson needs a custom, built-for-him offense which falls apart facing top five defenses (playoff time). Watson is a very capable, conventional pocket passer, but with mobility.
Watson is not even a top 15 QB. He has a career .500 record and one play off win. That gets you 230 million dollars guaranteed? Jackson has a career 73.8 winning percentage, an MVP, and less than 30 women accusing him of sexual assault. I know you Browns fans make excuses for the NFLs creepiest (which is saying something) guy, but nobody else wants that guy on their team, and we all hope you all suffer nothing but disappointing losses until Watson is playing for the XFL. Watson is not a good QB and is an even worse person. Also, once his salary eats up all the cap space, good luck putting any pieces around him. I don’t think he will ever have better teammates in Cleveland than Hopkins in his prime and JJ Watt in his prime, and they were a .500 team. Watson Sucks.