The Washington Football Team moved on from Dwayne Haskins Monday, less than two years after the franchise selected him in the first round of the NFL Draft. The final nail in the coffin for Haskins came in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, where he was the starting quarterback in place for Alex Smith in a game that would have clinched the NFC East title with a victory.
Haskins finished 14 of 28 for 154 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions before being benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Taylor Heinicke. Haskins was spotted a week earlier in a strip club without a mask and was fined $40,000 for the incident — one of the final straws during two tumultuous seasons in Washington. Haskins finished his Washington career completing 60.1% of his passes for 2,804 yards with 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions (74.4 passer rating) as the Football Team went 3-10 in his 13 starts.
Of the 39 quarterbacks with more than 300 pass attempts over the last two seasons, Haskins ranked 38th in completion percentage, 38th in touchdown passes, 38th in touchdown percentage, 39th in quarterback rating, and 37th in yards per attempt. A starting quarterback job is not likely in Haskins’ immediate future, but the 23-year-old quarterback could revitalize his young career as a backup.
With that in mind, here are four landing spots for Haskins to salvage his career in 2021:
The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger entrenched as the starting quarterback until the end of next season, but they don’t have a quarterback in the pipeline to be his potential successor. Could that player actually be Haskins? Pittsburgh could take a flyer on the former No. 15 overall pick, getting him a second chance in an organization that is the opposite of dysfunctional (Ron Rivera is quickly getting Washington out of the dysfunctional phase in Year One).
Mike Tomlin doesn’t put up with off-field antics, but here’s a chance for Haskins to repair his reputation and re-learn how to play the quarterback position under offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada — who has worked with Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the past.
The Steelers need to improve the backup quarterback spot, as Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges aren’t exactly players Tomlin can rely on if Roethlisberger goes down with another injury. Haskins can use 2021 as a developmental year and convince the Steelers to give him a shot as Roethlisberger’s successor.
Can you name the Rams’ backup quarterback? The answer is John Wolford, a former Alliance of American Football star who has never taken a snap in the NFL (but might start Week 17 in place of Goff, who reportedly broke his thumb Sunday). Clearly the Rams could use a backup behind entrenched starter Jared Goff. Why not give Haskins a shot at NFL redemption in Los Angeles under quarterback guru Sean McVay, who would actually utilize Haskins’ strengths?
The appeal with the Rams is offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who was Washington’s offensive coordinator during Haskins’ rookie season in 2019. Haskins improved under O’Connell in the final weeks of 2019, completing 72.1% of his passes for 394 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the final two weeks of his rookie season.
Washington moved on from O’Connell and he joined McVay in Los Angeles. Perhaps a reunion could salvage Haskins’ career as he takes a year to develop behind Goff — or challenges him for the job down the road.
The Seahawks backup quarterback is Geno Smith, who isn’t exactly a long-term option if Russell Wilson were to get injured (Wilson has never missed a game in his nine-year career). Smith and Wilson are both in their 30s. Seattle could use a young quarterback to develop as an insurance policy, so why not take a flyer on a young quarterback like Haskins, who’s only 23?
General manager John Schneider has been known to take risks on players, signing Josh Gordon despite his history of substance abuse, and almost landing Antonio Brown despite all his baggage. Haskins has his off-field issues, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue in Seattle if he’s willing to prove he deserves a second chance at a NFL career.
Getting Haskins in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense with Dave Canales as the passing game coordinator could be the development Haskins needs in 2021. Having Wilson as a veteran mentor will certainly help steer Haskins in the right direction.
The Titans would be a strong spot for Haskins to revitalize his career, just by looking as the resurgence of Ryan Tannehill. Getting Haskins under offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and quarterbacks coach Pat O’Hara could do wonders for Haskins, as he could develop as a passer with an aggressive play-action offense that relies heavily on the run.
Haskins can take a year to be groomed under the Tennessee offensive system and concentrate on mastering the play-action pass and using his legs to work on throws on the run — another staple of the Titans offense. A year in Tennessee will do wonders for Haskins as Tannehill’s backup — and he would be an upgrade over Logan Woodside.