Less than two seasons into his NFL career, Dwayne Haskins has been released by the Washington Football Team.
There’s never been a great amount of clarity surrounding Dwayne Haskins and his projection in Washington. When the Washington Football Team draft him at No. 15 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, there were questions surrounding why he’d fallen so far in a league that values highly-rated quarterbacks. There were questions surrounding his upside, and his NFL readiness.
The tumult of Haskins’ first season mirrored this haze. Haskins’ early action was not pretty, but he was given the benefit of the doubt, having played in a dysfunctional situation under lame duck head coach Jay Gruden. Toward the end of the 2019 season, Haskins showed modest developmental growth, which stoked optimism for 2020.
Haskins’ future again fell into question when the Washington Football Team underwent a regime change and instituted Ron Rivera as head coach. Rivera expressed his confidence in Haskins, however, and stuck with the first-round pick through the offseason. Haskins was rewarded for his work with the starting job, and a captain’s designation.
Then the first four games happened. Haskins regressed, and was benched. He returned to the starting lineup in Week 15, in relief of an injured Alex Smith. After the loss, he broke COVID protocols. He was fined, and his captain patch was taken away. Haskins received another chance against the Panthers, and completed 50% of his passes with two interceptions before being benched again.
After a long, chaotic two-year stretch, Haskins has run out of chances in Washington. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Haskins has been released by the Washington Football Team.
The news comes as a surprise, even despite Haskins’ poor play and poor off-field decisions. It was believed that, while Haskins was likely to be released in the offseason, he’d at least stick around through December. Now, Haskins is gone early, as his utility with the team has been completely extinguished.
Haskins didn’t have it easy at first in D.C., but there are less excuses for him in 2020. Rivera invested time and resources into Haskins’ development, but in the end, the second-year quarterback didn’t show any tangible growth from week to week, and his poor decisions cost him, both on and off the field. Now, he faces a future with a familiar uncertainty. It will be hard for teams to take a chance on him after his failed opportunity in the nation’s capital.
With Haskins gone, Taylor Heinicke has officially cemented himself as the backup to veteran quarterback Alex Smith. If Smith can’t go in the season finale against the Eagles, Heinicke will be the starter. Heinicke showed promise in the final minutes against the Panthers, completing 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Hopefully, the embattled Haskins can learn from this endeavor and grow toward his next opportunity. But after a tough late-season stretch, Washington is officially moving on from the distractions and the uneven play, and shifting focus to a crucial Week 17 game.