Ryan Fitzpatrick

Washington Extends Charles Leno

Charles Leno has certainly bounced back since the Bears released him in May, as he’s agreed to a new three-year deal with the Football Team worth $37.5MM, according to tweets from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.

Leno was a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for the Bears and signed a four-year, $38MM extension in 2017. Leno was named an alternate for the 2019 Pro Bowl, but was released just two years later this past May.

After being released, the eight-year veteran signed a one-year deal with Washington worth $4MM. The prove-it contract was a worthwhile gamble as Leno’s new deal is his biggest yet in terms of annual value. Washington benefitted from the gamble, as well, as Leno earned the 3rd best pass blocking grade among all tackles in the league thus far this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Whether Washington plans to stick with Taylor Heinicke or Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback next year or if they choose to draft a young star from the 2021 NFL Draft crop, the Football Team has locked down their blindside tackle for the next three years.

WFT’s Ryan Fitzpatrick Done For Year

Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s season is over. The Washington Football Team quarterback will have arthroscopic surgery on his hip, officially capping his 2021 campaign (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

[RELATED: Latest On WFT’s Logan Thomas]

Fitzpatrick played in just one game before suffering a hip subluxation in the season opener against the Chargers. In total, his season lasted less than 30 minutes.

This could be the end of the line for the 39-year-old passer, who has to focus on basic mobility before even thinking about football conditioning. He’ll also be out of contract in March, after the expiration of his one-year, $10 million deal. If this is the end of Fitzpatrick’s NFL career, he’ll leave the game with 166 career appearances (147 starts) and a ton of memorable moments to trump his lifetime 59-87-1 record.

Without FitzMagic, Washington has installed Taylor Heinicke as the starter. Heinicke hasn’t dazzled, but he does have WFT at the .500 mark and in the playoff conversation. They’ll look to gain ground on Sunday when they host the division-leading Cowboys.

Latest On WFT QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s 2021 season will have lasted for less than 30 minutes. The veteran quarterback, who signed with the Washington Football Team this offseason, suffered a hip subluxation in the first half of the club’s Week 1 loss to the Chargers, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Fitzpatrick is expected to miss the rest of the year.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old passer landed on IR immediately after the Chargers game, and the most recent reports indicated that he could be back for this week’s matchup with the Bucs. Unfortunately, his recovery has not gone as well as hoped.

Per Rapoport, Fitzpatrick is still dealing with pain and swelling, and he cannot begin rehab on the injury until that pain and swelling subside. Until then, his recovery is focused exclusively on treatment, and not a return to game shape. His most recent MRI did show some improvement, but it sounds as if he is a long way away from even thinking about getting back on the field.

And, given his advanced age, it’s fair to wonder if this is it for one of the most likable players in recent memory. The hirsute and well-traveled signal-caller has enjoyed a long and productive career for a seventh-round Ivy Leaguer, and while he has never been a top-tier quarterback, his longevity is indicative of how much clubs value his presence. He has appeared in 166 games in his career (147 starts), and though his 59-87-1 record as a starter leaves much to be desired, he has generally been good enough to at least keep his often talent-deficient teams competitive.

As for WFT, the club will continue to forge ahead with Taylor Heinicke under center for the rest of the year. Heinicke has not been able to recapture the magic that nearly resulted in an upset of the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in last year’s playoffs, and he is clearly not the long-term solution for Washington. WFT will once again be on the lookout for QB help this offseason.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

WFT’s Taylor Heinicke Could Keep Starting Job

Taylor Heinicke might be here to stay. The Washington quarterback has a real chance to keep his grip on the starting role, according to sources who spoke with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport

Heinicke will start on Sunday afternoon against the Bills in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is dealing with a painful hip subluxation. Fitz, who has been placed on injured reserve, could be able to return by mid-November. But, depending on how things go in the coming weeks, the veteran could wind up holding the clipboard for the former UDFA.

The Old Dominion product helped the WFT top the Giants in his first start this year. In that game, Heinicke completed 34 of 46 of his throws for 336 yards and two touchdowns against one interception.

Just a few weeks ago, there was talk of Ron Rivera pursuing old pal Cam Newton. Now, Washington seems especially high on Heinicke. With Kyle Allen as his safety net, he’ll try to advance WFT to 2-1 today.

WFT To Place Ryan Fitzpatrick On IR

It was the fear yesterday, but now it’s official. Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation during the team’s loss to the Chargers on Sunday, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed. The veteran is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Rivera announced that Fitzpatrick will be placed on injured reserve, sidelining him for at least the next three games. That means that it’ll be Taylor Heinicke under center when Washington takes the field in just a few days for a Thursday Night Football game against the Giants. It also means it’ll be Heinicke leading the team for the foreseeable future. If there’s any good news, it’s that Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that there’s “no indication yet that it’s season ending.”

Rivera said Fitzmagic is getting second opinions to determine the severity. For now it’ll be Kyle Allen backing up Heinicke. Washington is coming off a division title and had high expectations for this season, leading many to speculate they could look to add a veteran signal-caller.

Recently release Cam Newton, of course, is very well acquainted with Rivera from their days in Carolina together, although it looks like for now the plan is to roll with Heinicke and see how he fares. Beat reporters at the press conference say Rivera was firm about staying in-house for now. If the former UDFA struggles, then it wouldn’t be surprising for Washington to look outside the building.

It’s a tough blow for Fitz, who was injured in the first half of the first game with his new team. He’ll turn 39 in November, so it’s fair to wonder how easy of a recovery this will be for him. Here’s to hoping he gets back as soon as possible.

Hip Injury For WFT’s Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick is believed to have suffered a hip subluxation (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Washington quarterback will know more after a Monday morning MRI, but the training staff is hopeful that nothing was broken.

Fitzpatrick was forced out in the second quarter against the Chargers on Sunday. Taylor Heinicke took over in his stead, completing 11-for-15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough for the WFT — the Bolts walked away with a 20-16 win.

Heinicke hasn’t started a regular-season game since the end of 2018, but he’s on track to be first string in Week 2. Of course, he also managed 306 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs in the playoffs. They’ll be facing the Giants, who are coming off of a 27-13 loss to the Broncos.

Fitzpatrick, now 38, led the Dolphins to a 9-11 record in 20 starts between 2019 and 2020. He completed 64.2% of his passes in that span, throwing for 5,620 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He also continued to produce on the ground, finishing with 150 rushing yards for the 10th time in the past 13 seasons. Washington is hoping for more FitzMagic, pending tomorrow’s MRI.

Cowboys, Washington Out On Cam Newton

Cam Newton being cut for a second straight year may produce another lengthy free agency stay. Neither the Cowboys nor Washington appear to be interested in adding the former MVP.

Following Newton’s New England exit, Ron Rivera said a reunion with the eight-plus-year Panthers starting quarterback popped up on his radar. But the second-year Washington HC was quick to indicate Ryan Fitzpatrick is his starter, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Rivera added Washington will move forward with Fitz, Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Dallas followed suit, with Mike McCarthy adding the Cowboys are “pleased with the group” they have (via NFL.com’s Andrew Siciliano, on Twitter).

The Cowboys cut Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci this week but claimed former Panthers third-round pick Will Grier, who joins Cooper Rush as Dallas’ QBs behind Dak Prescott. Considering Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury and the shoulder issue that emerged early in this year’s camp, the Cowboys having a proven backup would make sense. It just does not seem like they want to add Newton.

You know, most people in the NFL that are even in the personnel area I think have Cam Newton evaluated, and his pluses and his minus. You know, [former Cowboys OC] Norv Turner did a great job … when he was coordinator [in Carolina] with Cam Newton. So, I think he’s no secret as to what he does and does well,” Jerry Jones said, during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via Pro Football Talk), when asked if he spoke with Bill Belichick about Newton.

And of course he was basically able to be evaluated if you want to look at it playing games and results and all of that as an evaluation. Cam Newton is not playing because everybody has evaluated it and they’re making a decision. … We were very, very easy to evaluate Cam.”

Newton, 32, lost the Patriots’ QB1 job to Mac Jones and is not only coming off a rough 2020 season but a general decline over the past several years. The 2015 MVP ranked 29th in cumulative Total QBR from 2016-19; a foot injury capped the last of those seasons at two games. The other two quarterbacks who saw time on that 2019 Carolina squad — Grier and Allen — join fellow ex-Newton teammate Heinicke in representing three-fourths of Dallas and Washington’s reserve QBs.

The Ravens have second-year UDFA Tyler Huntley as Lamar Jackson‘s lone active-roster backup, and Newton certainly would not pose a threat to Jackson’s job were the historically productive running quarterback to land with the game’s best active ball-carrying QB. But nothing has emerged on that front. It would make sense now if Newton waits for an injury to clear a path for a potential job.

Ron Rivera: No Rush To Solidify WFT’s QB

Ryan Fitzpatrick will enter training camp as Washington’s top quarterback, but he’ll have to earn his starting role through competition. Meanwhile, head coach Ron Rivera says he’s in no real rush to find the team’s QB of the future.

If you put all the other pieces into place and now you start going forward, when that guy does show up, when that guy is in the right position, you can grab him,” said Rivera (via Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic). “I went through it the other way my first stint as a head coach in Carolina. We drafted the guy of the future for us in the first round.…At that point, we had not put all the other pieces around Cam Newton.

So, I’ve always thought if you can do it the other way where you put all the other pieces around and then go out and get your quarterback, that might be a pretty good situation, too. I’ve seen a lot of teams that have had things in place then drafted their quarterback next year. This could be one of those situations where we put all the other pieces in place and then a year or two from now, the right guy is there and we can make that move.”

For now, WFT is set to move forward with Fitz, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and Steven Montez on the depth chart. At N0. 19 overall, they won’t be in the mix for top QBs Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance. From the sound of it, they won’t be vaulting up to the top five unless they’re especially keen on one of those passers.

NFL Contract Details: Jones, Floyd, Williams, QBs

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • RB Aaron Jones, Packers: Four years, $48MM, including $20MM over first two years. $7MM roster bonus in 2023. Owed $16MM in 2023 and $12MM in 2024. Via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter.
  • LB Leonard Floyd, Rams: Four years, $64MM, including $32.5MM guaranteed. $14MM signing bonus. Salaries: $2MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $16.5MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $15.5MM (2023), $16MM (2024). Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • DE Leonard Williams, Giants: Three years, $63MM, including $45MM. $22.5MM signing bonus. Salaries: $3.5MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $19MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $18MM (2023). Cap charges: $11MM (2021), $26.5MM (2022), $25.5MM (2023). Via Manish Mehta on Twitter.
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington: One year, $10MM, including $6MM guaranteed. Max value of $12MM. $6MM signing bonus. $3MM base salary, $1MM per-game roster bonuses. Up to $2MM in incentives. Via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post on Twitter.
  • QB Jacoby Brissett, Dolphins: One year, $5MM, including $2.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM signing bonus, up to $2.5MM in incentives. Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • QB Andy Dalton, Bears: One year, $10MM. $7MM signing bonus, $3MM base salary, up to $3MM in incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • LB Carl Lawson, Jets: Three years, $45MM, including $30MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. Salaries: $6.2MM (2021, plus $7.8MM roster bonus), $15MM (2022), $15MM (2023). Cap charges: $14.3MM (2021), $15.3MM (2022), $15.3MM (2023). Up to $800K in sack incentives each year. Via Mehta on Twitter.