1. Taylor Heinicke, QB
Heinicke’s inclusion might come as a surprise. The Commanders are 5-1-1 with Heinicke starting in place of Carson Wentz. A free agent to be come March, has Heinicke done enough to warrant Washington re-upping his contract again? Based on record alone, you’d be hard-pressed to argue against the idea.
Based on performance, though, it’s fairly obvious Heinicke’ is holding the offense back, and he probably needs a strong finish to the season to remove any doubt that he should be back in Landover in 2023.
Heinicke’s clutch gene is undeniable — and probably in the upper-echelon of quarterbacks — but there’s a reason he’s seemingly always in a position to win games at the death: he struggles putting teams away early in games.
Assuming the Commanders move on from Wentz in the offseason, Sam Howell is the only quarterback under contract for 2023.
The question the front office has to ask itself is if they want Heinicke and Howell to battle it out for the starting job, or cut bait with Heinicke and add another QB through free agency, trade, or the draft. Heinicke could make that decision for them if he leads the team to the playoffs and plays well along the way.