The top of Washington’s quarterbacks depth chart will look different in 2021, but it sounds like the team will be rolling with the same backups. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Kyle Allen has signed his ERFA tender.
After getting 12 starts for the Panthers in 2019, Allen ended up following his former head coach, Ron Rivera, to Washington after he was traded for a a fifth-rounder. Allen ultimately got four starts for Washington, completing 69-percent of his passes for 610 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
However, Allen suffered a dislocated/fractured ankle in early November, and the subsequent surgery ended his season early. That injury paved the way for Alex Smith to take over the full-time starting gig, and the veteran ended up going 5-1 en route the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
In 2021, Allen will be backing up a different veteran, as the organization moved on from Smith and replaced him with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team is also still rostering Taylor Heinicke.
The restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decision deadline is a little more than a week away. Some teams are already making their calls in advance of March 17. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:
Keim’s source did not name those QBs, but it’s safe to assume that WFT is at least kicking the tires on trade candidates like Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Sam Darnold. The club’s interest in Stafford and other signal-callers obviously suggests that it is not entirely sold on having Alex Smith return as the starter next season, but that scenario remains on the table.
If he does return, though, he would need to rework his contract. He is presently scheduled to count $24.4MM against the cap in 2021, and that is simply untenable. The newly-minted Comeback Player of the Year was a remarkable story in 2020, completing his recovery from a devastating leg injury suffered in November 2018 to start six games for WFT (winning five of them) and lead the club to a playoff berth. But he was more of a game manager than anything else, as he threw for six touchdowns against eight interceptions and posted a poor 78.5 QB rating.
Plus, he will be 37 when the 2021 season starts, and he missed three of the team’s final four games — including the wildcard round matchup with the Bucs — due to a bone bruise. So it’s far from a sure thing that he will be able to handle a full 16-game slate at this point, and even if he can, he no longer possesses the type of mobility that had become a key feature of his game.
He could theoretically agree to a pay cut to stay with WFT, or he and Washington could come to terms on an extension that reduces his 2021 cap number. Keim suggests that WFT would be willing to go the extension route, as the club is concerned that forfeiting draft capital for a different quarterback would limit its ability to strengthen the rest of the roster. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that Smith would play to the end of the extension, so Washington could be saddled with substantial dead money in the future.
Of course, Washington could also release Smith, but that would only happen if the team has already acquired or is prepared to acquire another quarterback. A release would save WFT $13.6MM in cap space this year, and it would also allow the team to avoid the possibility of carrying Smith-related charges on its books beyond the 2021 season. Interestingly, multiple NFL execs, coaches, and scouts tell Keim that they view Smith as a backup at this point in his career, which might make Smith more receptive to a pay cut (though that is just my speculation).
Smith could also retire, but he did not seem ready to hang up the cleats in a recent interview. And Keim says retirement is the least likely scenario at this point, so one way or another, Washington will need to be the one to make the call on Smith’s future.
All of this suggests that WFT is not going to entertain the notion of having Taylor Heinicke open the 2021 season as the starter, despite some tongue-in-cheek calls for him to do so. The team did recently hand the near-playoff hero an extension, and while it was originally reported as a two-year, $8.75MM deal, a lot will need to go right for the soon-to-be 28-year-old to max out that contract. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post has the full breakdown, which includes a $1MM salary in 2021, a $1.5MM salary in 2022, and $1.25MM in per game roster bonuses over the next two seasons (Twitter link). Field Yates of ESPN.com adds that Heinicke will pocket a $1MM signing bonus, so it’s really a two-year deal with a base value of $4.75MM and up to $4MM in incentives (Twitter link).
Meanwhile, Keim says Washington will retain Kyle Allen via an exclusive rights free agent tender. Allen followed head coach Ron Rivera from Carolina to Washington and makes for a solid third-string option if nothing else.
Washington quarterback Kyle Allen is expected to undergo surgery in the coming weeks on his dislocated/fractured ankle, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). With Allen’s season in flux, Alex Smith is likely poised to serve as the team’s starter for the rest of the year.
Fortunately, Allen’s injury was not as bad as it first appeared. Smith took over for Allen after he was forced out and played well, up until his late-game interceptions. Of course, Smith can be forgiven if he was a bit rusty. Two years ago, his gruesome leg injury nearly cost him his career and, at one point, the possibility of amputation was floated by doctors.
Smith, 36, made his return this year and moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart when former first-round pick Dwayne Haskinswas benched in early October. Days later, Smith took the field against the Rams in relief of Allen. Though his final stat was ugly, coaches were encouraged by his ability to absorb blows from the front seven.
Sunday’s loss to the Giants dropped the Washington Football Team down to 2-6. Even in the woeful NFC East, they’re facing long odds of making the postseason. Still, Smith’s return to the starting lineup will make for compelling television. He’ll be leading the way on Sunday when the WFT travels to Detroit to face the Lions.
November 8th, 2020 at 4:20pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Alex Smith is back as Washington’s starting quarterback. Kyle Allen went down with an ankle injury that looked gruesome initially but thankfully turned out to be not quite as serious as it appeared.
Allen has a dislocated ankle with only a small fracture, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The injury will “likely” sideline him for the rest of the year, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, although he does have a shot to return. Head coach Ron Rivera confirmed after the game that Smith will be the starter next week, with 2019 first-rounder Dwayne Haskins being bumped up to number two.
Smith lit it up to start the second half and get Washington back into their game against the Giants, but back to back interception on the final two drives sealed their 23-20 loss. Next week against the Lions will be Smith’s first start since his own devastating lower leg injury that he suffered midway through the 2018 season. No matter how he fares moving forward, it’s been a truly remarkable comeback and we’re all rooting for him.
It’s a tough blow for Allen assuming he’s done for the year, as he isn’t likely to get handed a starting opportunity like this again next year. The 2018 UDFA was brought in specifically by Rivera after they spent time together with the Panthers, and he was coming off a great game against the Cowboys when we went down.
October 11th, 2020 at 8:17pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Perhaps the best story of the Week 5 slate was when Alex Smith made his improbable return to the field in relief of an injured Kyle Allen during Washington’s loss to the Rams. Unfortunately for Smith, it looks like he might have to head back to the bench for a bit.
Allen will remain the team’s starter for now if he’s healthy, head coach Ron Rivera said after the game. Allen was cleared by doctors to return on Sunday even though he never did, which would seemingly indicate he’ll be good to go for Week 6. Smith led the team to a field goal right before halftime, but was unable to get anything going in the second half as he was under heavy pressure.
Most importantly it was good to see Smith’s health hold up, especially when he took some big hits from Aaron Donald and co. His final stat line turned out pretty ugly though, as he finished 9/17 for 37 yards while taking six sacks. Despite Washington’s 1-4 start they’re very much in the thick of the abysmal NFC East, especially in the wake of Dak Prescott‘s brutal ankle injury.
Rivera clearly wants to compete for the division, it’s why he benched Dwayne Haskins in the first place, so it’d be somewhat surprising if we don’t see Smith again soon. Allen is a fighter, but his upside isn’t very high and the team’s ceiling is almost certainly higher with a pre-injury Smith if he’s able to return to that form.
Allen was 9/13 for 74 yards with a seven-yard rushing touchdown before a hit from Jalen Ramsey temporarily sidelined him. Washington’s upcoming schedule consists of the Giants, Cowboys, Giants, Lions, Bengals, and Cowboys, so they’ve definitely got some winnable games on the horizon. Meanwhile Haskins has been demoted to third string and is reportedly likely to get traded soon, and with all the drama in this quarterback room it’ll be a very interesting situation to monitor moving forward.
Although Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins turned in a decent performance against the Ravens last week, head coach Ron Riveraelected to bench the 2019 first-rounder in favor of Kyle Allen. Not only that, Haskins is now the No. 3 QB on the team’s depth chart behind Allen and Alex Smith.
As one might expect, the relationship between Haskins and the WFT coaching staff has turned toxic, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. The staff did not have a hand in drafting the Ohio State product, who was selected by the prior Washington regime, and as the QB3, Haskins will not get much practice time and will be a healthy scratch most weeks.
One of La Canfora’s sources, who has talked with numerous WFT staffers, said, “[w]hat they’ll tell you in that building is that [Haskins] is a project who was drafted by the owner and his son. That’s the bottom line there. Allen is their guy. They think he fits their system. They didn’t really want anything to do with Haskins from the beginning.”
Multiple sources within the organization believe that Haskins will be traded before the November 3 deadline, and those close to the second-year pro have told him that a trade would be the best outcome for him. At this point, it’s hard to argue with that, though it’s unclear who might be interested and what the trade compensation might be.
Because it plays in such a weak division, Washington believes it has a real chance to be a playoff contender this year. As such, Rivera would like to hand the reins to Smith sooner rather than later, as La Canfora details in a separate piece. The fact that Smith is on a football field at all is nothing short of a miracle, but the staff believes that with another couple of weeks of practice, the 36-year-old will be ready to start once again.
Smith has not played since November 18, 2018, the day he suffered the brutal leg injury that nearly cost him his life.
The Washington Football Team is making a quarterback change. Former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins will be benched in favor of Kyle Allen, as Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweet. Furthermore, Haskins will be moved down to No. 3 on the QB depth chart with Alex Smith taking over as the primary backup.
Washington tried to tailor the offense to Haskins’ strengths this offseason while giving him all of the first-string reps in practice. So far, that hasn’t panned out. After their comeback win over the Eagles to start the season, WFT has gone without a W in the last three games.
Haskins, the No. 15 overall pick of the 2019 draft, has been sacked a ton — the offensive line is partially to blame, though Haskins has not been able to locate his open targets quickly, either. Between his three interceptions and one fumble against the Browns, Haskins is coming off of a four-turnover game, one that may change the trajectory of his NFL career. All in all, Haskins has completed just 56.4% of his passes with four touchdowns against three INTs.
Washington is set to play the Ravens this week, presenting Allen with a tough task. But, after that, they have a fairly soft stretch that includes the Rams, Giants (2x), Cowboys, and Lions. Ron Rivera & Co. believe that Allen can take advantage of that stretch and put them on the right track.
Meanwhile, this marks yet another remarkable milestone for Smith, who suffered a gruesome leg injury in November of 2018.The injury was thought to be a potential career ender, especially after Smith contracted sepsis. Now healthy, the 36-year-old could be on the verge of taking his first snap in years.
The Washington Football Team is not pleased with how quarterback Dwayne Haskins has performed through the first three games of the season, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the club could bench Haskins if he does not show improvement soon. In fact, Rapoport hears Haskins could be yanked during the club’s game against the Ravens this afternoon.
Haskins was the 15th-overall pick of the 2019 draft, and WFT gave him all the first-team reps in this year’s training camp while tailoring the offense to his strengths. Washington is not talent-rich on the offensive side of the ball, so not all of the club’s struggles fall on Haskins’ shoulders, but Haskins has certainly had his issues.
Thus far, he has taken too many sacks, has not shown much poise in the pocket, and he turned the ball over four times in last week’s loss to the Browns (three interceptions and one fumble). Although WFT did have an exciting comeback win over the Eagles in Week 1, Haskins has completed just 56.4% of his passes and has thrown four TDs against three picks, good for a 75.7 QB rating.
The Ohio State product had just one season as a starter in college, so it would seem strange that a team like Washington that doesn’t have realistic postseason hopes would pull the plug on him before he has even played a season’s worth of games as a pro. But as Rapoport writes, WFT sees the five games after Baltimore as eminently winnable — the team plays the Rams, the Giants twice, the Cowboys, and the Lions — and the coaching staff might believe current backup Kyle Allen is better-suited to win those games.
Allen was with WFT head coach Ron Rivera and OC Scott Turner in Carolina, so he has more experience with the offense. But Haskins definitely has a higher ceiling than Allen, and the team has much more invested in him. It will be interesting to see if Rivera — who was not with Washington when the club selected Haskins — has a quick hook.
Barring a major surprise or trade, the NFL Draft should kick off with the Bengals selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall and the Redskins taking Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second pick. Then, at No. 3, many expect the Lions to tap Buckeyes cornerback Jeff Okudah as a replacement for Darius Slay.
When the Giants pick at No. 4, however, things could get interesting. The Giants could be a prime position to trade down and load up in the later rounds. If they stand pat, GM Dave Gettleman could be tempted by one of his beloved “Hog Mollies,” an imposing tackle to help fortify their offensive line.
However, in his latest mock draft, ESPN.com’s Todd McShay predicts that the G-Men will take Clemson outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The versatile defender could help slow down the run, put pressure on opposing QBs, and help turn around a defense that allowed more than 28 points per game in 2019.
Here’s more from the NFC East:
Further down in the mock draft, McShay anticipates the Cowboys selecting a cornerback at No. 17 to help replace Byron Jones. In this scenario, he has them going with Florida’s C.J. Henderson, a player who is getting more and more buzz for his reported sub-4.4 40-yard-dash time. At No. 21 overall, he has the Eagles taking LSU inside linebacker Patrick Queen, even though many see the Birds targeting wide receivers, including Queen’s teammate Justin Jefferson.
Count ESPN.com’s Tim McManus among those that see PHI going WR. The Eagles watched big-name receivers fly off the board in March, even as Nelson Agholor moved on from the Raiders. With Alshon Jeffery still working his way back from Lisfranc surgery, the Eagles have to at least consider one of this year’s many talented targets. Jefferson is one possibility; Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, and Clemson’s Tee Higgins could also be available when the Eagles select at No. 21.
The Redskins haven’t ruled out a return for Alex Smith or a significant role for the newly acquiredKyle Allen. Still, head coach Ron Rivera expects rising sophomore Dwayne Haskins to be the team’s starter in 2020. “That’s what we’re going into camp believing, but they’re going to compete,” Rivera told WFNZ (via Peter King of NBC Sports). “We really like what we have in terms of our young quarterbacks. Kyle is a young guy who has a live arm, understands the game, understands how we do things, so I’m excited about what the potential could be.”