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.
September 13th, 2021 at 12:18pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
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.
September 12th, 2021 at 7:27pm CST by Zachary Links
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bears landed their post-Mitchell Trubisky quarterback, with recent acquisition Andy Dalton indicating Thursday he was told he would be the team’s starter next season (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Adam Jahns). But they held discussions with at least one other option as well.
Ryan Fitzpatrick said Thursday more than three teams expressed interest in him this offseason, via Pro Football Talk, and Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan notes the Bears were one of those teams (Twitter link). The Broncos were also connected to Fitz, though reports of the team having conversations with the ex-Dolphins passer before the legal tampering period would indeed constitute tampering. So it is uncertain if any talks between the Broncos and the 16-year veteran passer transpired.
Washington signed Fitzpatrick, agreeing to terms with him a day before Dalton committed to the Bears. Dalton has a key connection with the Bears, with the team employing ex-Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor as its OC. But Fitz has shown over the past three seasons he still has some intriguing capabilities left, despite being 38.
Chicago still has Nick Foles on its roster as well, with his reworked contract now expiring after the 2021 season. While it perhaps should not be ruled out the Bears will load up again for another round of Russell Wilson trade talks, the organization had multiple fallback options this week. Dalton will be the one to suit up for the team next season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is heading to Washington. The veteran quarterback has reached an agreement with Washington, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth $10MM, but the deal could grow to $12MM with incentives.
Despite having turned 38 years old in November and completing his 16th NFL season, it never really looked like the veteran was going to hang up his cleats. We heard earlier this week that Fitzpatrick intended to play in 2021, and it sounded like the quarterback would have plenty of suitors.
“For me, personally, I have to take every offseason andreassess,” Fitzpatrick said recently. “These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing.”
Those past two years saw Fitzmagic lead the Dolphins to a 9-11 record in his 20 starts with the organization. He completed 64.2-percent of his passes over those two campaigns, 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.
Despite speculation to the contrary, Ryan Fitzpatrick intends to play in 2021 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Fitzpatrick is days away from free agency and figures to draw a good amount of interest.
Over the weekend, we heard that the 38-year-old could hang up the cleats. But, publicly, Fitzpatrick has been fairly consistent about his plans. In February, he told Pat McAfee that he still had plenty of gas in the tank.
“For me, personally, I have to take every offseason andreassess,” Fitzpatrick said. “These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing.”
Fitzpatrick opened the year as the Dolphins’ starter before ceding the role to Tua Tagovailoa. However, he was used in relief throughout the year, including his game against the Raiders to secure the win. At this stage of his career, Fitzpatrick might not be able to secure a starting role, but he profiles as one of the best available backup options. If Fitzpatrick is willing to mentor a young QB, he should be able to land a contract as one of the league’s highest-paid QB2s.
After turns with the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Bucs, and Dolphins, the Harvard alum could be on his way to the ninth team of his NFL career.
“For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess. These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing,” Fitz said at the time. Now however, it “looks like he’s going to retire,” veteran NFL reporter John Clayton writes for 104.3 The Fan Denver. Clayton writes that the Broncos had “some contact” with Fitzpatrick, but “it looks like he’s going to be out of the mix.”
Perhaps Fitzpatrick has decided that if he can’t find a starting gig, he’ll hang up his cleats. In Denver he’d be veteran competition for Drew Lock, and it’s possible Fitz has no interest in another situation like last year, when he was used to push Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins. This news is also more confirmation that the Broncos are in fact serious about Lock not being handed the starting job.
If it really is the end of the line for FitzMagic, it’d wrap up an incredible NFL journey. The 250th pick of the 2005 draft has defied all odds, sticking in the league for 16 seasons while playing for eight different teams.
The 38-year-old has started 146 games in the league, an achievement nobody ever could’ve seen coming for the Harvard product. We should know more about his future soon with the start of free agency right around the corner.