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Washington 2022 position breakdown | Quarterback

Taylor Heinicke rolls out for a pass during the Washington Commanders' game against the New York Giants in Week 18. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
Taylor Heinicke rolls out for a pass during the Washington Commanders' game against the New York Giants in Week 18. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

With the Commanders about a month removed from the season finale and a critical offseason on the horizon, it's time to turn the page to the 2022 campaign.

Over the past three weeks, has been breaking down every position group and laying out who the team could potentially add via free agency and the draft. Here are the position groups covered so far:

Finally, we're wrapping the series up with the quarterbacks:

Relive the highlights from each week of the Washington Football Team's 2021 season by scrolling through the top photos of the year. (Photos by Emilee Fails, Karlee Sell and Joseph Noyes/Washington Football Team

On the roster

Washington had a plan for the position heading into the 2021 season. Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the experienced veteran to lead Washington's young offense, while Taylor Heinicke would be the backup. That plan got upended in the span of 15 plays.

Fitzpatrick went down with a hip subluxation, which turned out to be a season-ending injury for the then-38-year-old. So, in came Heinicke to line up under center with nine minutes left in the second quarter.

It was a role he would have for the rest of the season (with the exception of one game). It's never ideal for a player to be injured, but at the very least, Washington would get a good look at a signal-caller who nearly upset Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs.

"He plays a little bit like his hair's on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger," said head coach Ron Rivera. "But I think...he's matured a little bit. He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I'm excited to see what's going to happen."

Heinicke had matured since joining Washington as the team's "quarantine quarterback," and there were times when it ignited a spark for the offense. He finished the year with 3,419 yards and 20 touchdowns. Just four days after the Chargers game, he led Washington on a wild comeback that ended with the team on top. And during the team's four-game win streak, when Washington positioned itself for playoff contention, each of those victories featured a completion rate of at least 70% from Heinicke.

"That's what we know he's capable of," Rivera said. "In spite of the fact that we didn't have all of the weapons we wanted out there because we'd love to get Logan Thomas back, eventually Ricky Seals-Jones went down. He really showed what he's capable of and you feel really good about that."

There were also some moments where Heinicke wasn't as spectacular. He had six interceptions in Weeks 5-8, and after a thrilling win over the Las Vegas Raiders, he had games with completion rates of 44% and 31%, respectively.

It's important to note that Heinicke, despite being 28 years old, only has 17 starts under his belt, so he's still developing. He did, however, show that growth in the starter and will be on the roster next season.

Washington had two other quarterbacks also receive snaps. Kyle Allen did not start in a game, but he did step in for an injured Heinicke in the home matchup against the Dallas Cowboys and then again in the rematch two weeks later. His final stats for the season: 12-of-19 for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Rounding out the position is Garrett Gilbert, who signed with Washington of the Patriots' practice squad when COVID-19 cases forced the NFL to reschedule the team's Week 15 game against the Eagles. While he only had a few days to prepare, Garrett performed well in the situation by completing 20-of-31 passes for 194 yards.

Free Agency

Fitzpatrick is set to be a free agent in March, while Allen will be a restricted free agent. Allen can sign with an offer sheet with a different team, but Washington can retain him by matching the offer. Gilbert will also be a free agent.

Check out the full list of quarterbacks set to hit free agency, HERE.


There are several quarterbacks available in this year's draft, including Nevada's Carson Strong, North Carolina's Sam Howell, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Ole Miss' Matt Corral and Liberty's Malik Willis. Check out the full list, HERE.

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