Dwayne Haskins

Jay Gruden On Daniel Snyder, Washington Drafts, Coaching Future

Jay Gruden is currently unattached, with the Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer last month. Darrell Bevell is the team’s new offensive coordinator. Gruden, who coached Washington from 2014-19, remains interested in returning to the sidelines.

However, the longtime NFL play-caller does not expect to coach this season. Gruden, 53, said, with staffs having mostly filled up over the past few weeks, he will likely sit out in 2021 before reassessing his options, Ben Standig of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

Gruden made some noise recently when he made a candid remark about Washington owner Daniel Snyder‘s draft involvement. The six-year Washington HC indicated the team’s owner “would come in off his yacht and make the pick” after Washington’s coaching staff and front office prepared for the draft. Gruden expanded on that assessment.

Well, first and foremost, he is the owner. So if he wants to come off his yacht, or if he wants to come off his tennis court, wherever he’s at and make a pick, he has that right,” Gruden said. “(Dan) has the ultimate say, and that’s not going to change until he decides he wants to change.

So I guess he’s given up total responsibility and total power to coach (Ron) Rivera, which is a good thing, I think. But when I was there, that wasn’t the case. He had final say over everything. He and (former team president) Bruce Allen would talk about it, and they would make the decision. I signed up for that. I knew that was the case going in, and that’s just the way it was.”

Like Gruden, Allen is no longer with the franchise. Snyder dismissed the 10-year team president after the 2019 season. But the Snyder-Allen-Gruden power trio was in place for nearly six seasons. The last of those, a 3-13 season that involved Gruden being fired after an 0-5 start, transpired after a controversial draft.

It has been long reported Gruden was against drafting Dwayne Haskins, a Snyder- and Allen-driven move. Gruden said one of the team’s plans involved taking Montez Sweat at No. 15; Washington later traded back into Round 1 and drafted the edge defender at No. 26. Gruden also mentioned being high on safety Darnell Savage, whom the Packers drafted at No. 21 overall.

We knew we needed a quarterback, though. I mean, so at the end of the day, it’s not like Dwayne was not a good prospect. He’s a young football player with a lot of talent. So it’s not the end of the world we took Dwayne,” Gruden said, via Standig. “We just didn’t think we had to take him that high. It’s just what we thought … if we lost Dwayne that there were a couple of other ones later we might be able to get to come in and maybe compete with Case. Plus there was still hope in the back of our minds that Alex would come back.”

Coming off a 50-touchdown pass 2018 season at Ohio State, Haskins was viewed as a surefire first-round pick. The Giants were connected to him at No. 6 overall, though they surprised most by drafting Daniel Jones. Haskins fell to No. 15, becoming the third quarterback off the 2019 board. Some in Washington’s organization were believed to have placed a third-round grade on the quarterback.

Gruden said during the interview Haskins “wasn’t quite ready” when a Case Keenum injury first summoned him into action in Week 4 of the ’19 season. The organization quickly soured on the quarterback, benching him early in the 2020 season and putting him on the trade block. The Rivera-led regime waived Haskins in December of last year.

Snyder overruled Washington football-side brass on other occasions, Gruden said. Washington now has Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney atop running football ops.

For the most part, I’d say 85-90% of the time, we were making pretty much football decisions that were good for the football team, and they were (decisions) that everybody agreed on. … The majority,” Gruden said. “But there were a few picks (during my time) that we had nothing to do with it.”

The currently unattached coach also discussed Kirk Cousins‘ exit. The Allen-led Cousins negotiations led to animosity, two franchise tags and the quarterback’s departure in free agency in 2018. Rather than a trade haul, Washington only received a third-round compensatory pick for its four-year QB starter.

For the most part, I was given every opportunity to succeed there. We just didn’t get it done,” Gruden said. “There are some decisions there that I wish we could have had back. Obviously, we should have gotten more for Kirk Cousins. That’s the biggest thing, that I think we should have got more for Kirk Cousins than a third-round pick.”

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$0 Guaranteed In Dwayne Haskins’ Steelers Deal

The Steelers took a flier on quarterback Dwayne Haskins last week with an inexpensive one-year deal. His $850K contract includes no guaranteed money, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). 

It’s a pretty big drop for the former first-round pick, though he’ll still be earning cash from his previous Washington deal. Ultimately, for Haskins, it’s an opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business in Ben Roethlisberger and rebuild his stock.

Haskins dazzled evaluators with his arm strength coming out of Ohio State. As a pro, he was a flop. In 2020 — his second year with WFT — Haskins averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Head coach Ron Rivera released Haskins after his terrible Week 16 showing, putting him on the open market just two years after being selected No. 15 overall.

The Panthers also offered a deal to Haskins, which was also believed to be for the minimum. After Teddy Bridgewater‘s trying year in Carolina, that could have been a better opportunity for Haskins to get on the field. Then again, the Panthers could use this year’s No. 8 pick on a QB, pushing any free agent pickup to the bottom of the depth chart.

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Panthers Offered Contract To Dwayne Haskins

Former Washington Football Team signal-caller Dwayne Haskins signed with the Steelers yesterday, but he did have another offer on the table. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Haskins could have signed with the Panthers, whom he visited earlier this month (Twitter link).

Most likely, both offers were one-year, minimum-salary proposals, so Haskins probably chose the Steelers over the Panthers based on learning opportunity and the incumbent starters for both clubs. Haskins’ game is more similar to Ben Roethlisberger‘s — at least when Big Ben was in his prime — than to Teddy Bridgewater‘s, and 2021 will likely be Roethlisberger’s final season. The Steelers’ backup signal-caller, Mason Rudolph, will also be a free agent after the 2021 campaign, so if Haskins impresses, he could put himself in the conversation for the team’s long-term answer at quarterback.

He may have had a similar opportunity in Carolina, because while Bridgewater is under club control through 2022, he did not play well in his first season with the Panthers and does not currently seem like a good bet to see the end of his deal. But the Panthers have the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, which could theoretically be used on a top college passer, and the team has also been speculatively connected to Deshaun Watson, so Haskins might have been looking at longer odds in Charlotte.

Still, the 2019 first-rounder will need to demonstrate a great deal of improvement both on and off the field to make the Steelers consider extending their relationship beyond the 2021 campaign (if he even lasts the whole season with the team). But he will be teamed up with Matt Canada, Pep Hamilton, or Hue Jackson, who are all in the running for Pittsburgh’s OC gig and who all have considerable experience coaching young signal-callers.

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Steelers To Sign Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins has a new home. On Thursday, the Steelers agreed to sign the quarterback to a one-year deal, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Steelers Interviewed Hue Jackson For OC Job]

The Steelers met with the former first-round in the morning and quickly decided to bring him on board. It’s likely a minimum-salary deal for Haskins — or something close to it — so this is about as low-risk as it gets. Haskins was horrendous in Washington, but he was the No. 15 overall pick less than two years ago.

Haskins dazzled evaluators with his arm strength coming out of Ohio State. The cannon is still there, though his decision making — both on and off the field — was questioned in Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera released Haskins after a terrible Week 16 showing. Just one week prior to that, Haskins was photographed maskless at a birthday party.

Now, Haskins has a chance at NFL redemption. He won’t be starting, but he will have an opportunity to learn from one of the best in Ben Roethlisberger.

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Dwayne Haskins To Visit Steelers

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins will meet with the Steelers on Thursday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The former first-round pick could provide quarterback depth and upside for Pittsburgh on a low-cost, low-risk deal. 

The Panthers also kicked the tires on Haskins recently, though that meeting ended without a deal. No one’s expecting greatness from Haskins — at least, not immediately — but he would likely come on a minimum-salary contract.

Before his late-season release, Haskins averaged 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. After getting dumped by Washington, Haskins mutually parted ways with agent David Mulugheta. He’s since caught on with Goal Line Football agency and his new reps are searching for his best fit.

Washington had high hopes for Haskins in 2019. Ultimately, his Week 16 performance in 2020 was the final straw. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Haskins completed just 50% of his throws for 154 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was leapfrogged by Taylor Heinicke and responded poorly, prompting head coach Ron Rivera to show him the door.

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QB Dwayne Haskins To Meet With Panthers

Dwayne Haskins will have his first visit since being unceremoniously cut by Washington last month. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the former first-round quarterback will meet with the Panthers on Monday. We had previously heard of Carolina’s interest, but there was no word on potential visits.

Rapoport describes the meeting as “a fact-finding mission for both sides.” As Joe Person of The Athletic observes on Twitter, the timing is a bit interesting for the Panthers, as the team is currently operating without a general manager. While Matt Rhule previously said he doesn’t want control over personnel decisions, Person believes the head coach may be pushing for this move. Rhule has known Haskins since the quarterback was in high school, and Haskins’ college coach, Ryan Day, previously coached alongside Rhule at Temple.

Further, the Panthers have some question marks at quarterback, so the organization may simply be doing their homework on low-risk acquisitions (Rapoport notes that teams would “likely only pay Haskins the minimum”). Teddy Bridgewater didn’t complete his final appearance of the 2020 season, and Rhule declared that the veteran would need to have a “tremendous offseason” (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra) in order to definitively retain his gig.

Before getting cut, Haskins was averaging 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 16 games and 13 starts for Washington. After getting waived, Haskins mutually parted ways with agent David Mulugheta, and he’s since caught on with Goal Line Football agency.

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Extra Points: Texans, Bills, Haskins, Bengals

Brandin Cooks has been traded three times during his seven-year career, and the Texans wideout is hoping he isn’t included in any more deals.

“[A]s far as a team thinking they could trade me for draft capital, I would caution them to think twice, because quite frankly, I’m not going to accept any more trades,” Cooks told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. “And so, for me, if you want me off your team, you’ve just got to let me walk and choose my destination.”

While Cooks isn’t anxious to uproot his family, he also wants to stay in Houston so he can continue receiving passes from quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“I would love to continue to grow with Deshaun and have that commitment, however that looks,” Cooks said. “I don’t get into that. I’ll leave that to my agent and the team, but playing with a guy like that — who wouldn’t want to play with a quarterback like Deshaun?”

Cooks still has three years remaining on his contract, and he’ll have a manageable $12MM cap hit in 2021. However, he doesn’t have any guaranteed money left on the deal, adding a bit of uncertainty to his future. For what it’s worth, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that the organization has yet to talk contract with the wideout, but “it’s a conversation expected to take place in the offseason” once the team officially hires their GM and head coach.

Some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Speaking of, we learned earlier today that the Texans were set to hire Patriots executive Nick Caserio as their new GM, and it apparently took a giant offer to get him to Houston. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Houston gave Caserio a six-year contract that will make him one of the three-highest paid general managers in the NFL. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that the deal is worth “at least” $6MM annually.
  • The Bills are scheduled to audition quarterback Chad Kelly, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). There’s an obvious connection here, as the 26-year-old is the nephew of legendary Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. Yates suggests that the audition could result in a “possible reserve/future” deal. The final pick of the 2017 draft, the younger Kelly has spent time with the Broncos and Colts during his career, getting into a single game.
  • After going unclaimed on waivers last week, former Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins and agent David Mulugheta mutually agreed to part ways. The former first-rounded has since found new representation, as ESPN’s Jenna Laine reports (via Twitter) that Haskins has hired Goal Line Football.
  • Following a 2020 season where the organization finished with only four wins, the Bengals have moved on from three assistants, according to ESPN’s Ben Baby (via Twitter). Jim Turner, Nick Eason, and Gerald Chatman will not return in 2021. However, Baby notes that the Bengals defense showed flashes this past season, meaning Eason and Chatman could end up landing new gigs relatively quickly.

Dwayne Haskins Parts Ways With Agent

Dwayne Haskins is looking for a new team. He’s also looking for new representation. After going unclaimed on the waiver wire, the former Washington quarterback and agent David Mulugheta mutually agreed to part ways, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Panthers Interested In Dwayne Haskins]

There is, at least, a market for the former first-round pick. Several teams are said to be interested in the strong-armed QB, including the Panthers. Haskins, who has been pegged by many as having an attitude problem, is unlikely to sign with any team before the end of the year. Playoff contenders see Haskins as too green to trust as an emergency option. And, for non-playoff teams, there’s little sense in tying up payroll by signing Haskins immediately.

Washington had high hopes for Haskins after selecting him in the first round of the 2019 draft. It was a move that the franchise came to regret, and Ron Rivera‘s regime had little reason to keep up appearances. Haskins didn’t inspire confidence in his second pro season and his Week 16 performance was the final straw. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Haskins completed just 50% of his throws for 154 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was leapfrogged by Taylor Heinicke and responded poorly — Rivera quickly handed him a pink slip.

There were rumblings that his first head coach, Jay Gruden, never wanted him. Owner Dan Snyder may have forced Haskins on Gruden, but he didn’t make the same demand of Rivera.

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Panthers Interested In Dwayne Haskins

The Panthers are showing interest in Dwayne Haskins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The former WFT quarterback went unclaimed on waivers this week, leaving him free to sign with any club. 

[RELATED: Washington Cuts Dwayne Haskins]

The Panthers aren’t the only team with intrigue, either. RapSheet hears that “several teams” are kicking the tires on the 2019 first-round pic, though he’s unlikely to sign before the end of the season.

Haskins was atrocious in Washington, but he’s still 23 with plenty of upside. It also helps that Haskins would come at a cheaper rate that his original contract. Haskins was something of a draft darling in ’19, thanks in large part to his tremendous arm strength.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is one coach who thinks that he can get the best out of the youngster. The Panthers would also provide him a strong mentor in starter Teddy Bridgewater. Currently, Bridgewater has P.J. Walker and Will Grier as his backups.

Even after moving on from Haskins, Washington will still be responsible for the balance of his contract with $1.8MM (2021) and $2.46MM (2022) base salaries on the books.

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Dwayne Haskins Goes Unclaimed On Waivers

Despite Dwayne Haskins going off the 2019 draft board at No. 15 overall, he is a free agent barely 18 months later. The second-year quarterback went unclaimed on waivers Tuesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Washington waived Haskins less than 24 hours after starting him in Week 16 against the Panthers. The former one-year Ohio State sensation is no longer attached to his four-year rookie contract.

While Haskins went unclaimed, Washington still owes him the balance of that fully guaranteed rookie deal. In addition to dead money coming from Haskins’ signing bonus, his $1.8MM (2021) and $2.46MM (2022) base salaries will be on Washington’s payroll.

The team took a quarterback in Round 1 for the first time since Robert Griffin III in 2012 — a move influenced by Daniel Snyder and endorsed by then-team president Bruce Allen, but opposed by then-HC Jay Gruden — but Haskins will be seeking to start over already. Poor play and two COVID-19 protocol violations led to his Washington dismissal. The now-Ron Rivera-run team was willing to trade Haskins prior to this year’s deadline and only reinserted him into its starting lineup because of Alex Smith‘s calf injury. Smith’s 2018 injury led to Washington drafting Haskins barely a year after trading for Smith and handing him a four-year extension.

Washington will turn to either Smith or former UDFA Taylor Heinicke in a do-or-die Week 17 game in Philadelphia. Rivera said Smith was close to returning last week, boding well for his prospects to lift Washington to its first playoff berth since 2015.

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