Commanders’ Taylor Heinicke: Carson Wentz will play because ‘NFL’s a business’

It was always a matter of when and not if Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke would be replaced atop the depth chart this offseason. That came in March when Washington traded with the Indianapolis Colts for signal-caller Carson Wentz, as head coach Ron Rivera has repeatedly left zero doubt since then that Wentz is his QB1 moving forward. 

Heinicke went 7-8 as a starter last season and, per ESPN stats, finished the campaign 25th among eligible quarterbacks with an 85.9 passer rating and 23rd with a 39.9 total QBR. According to Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk, the 29-year-old spoke with reporters on Wednesday and made it clear he understands he won’t be competing with Wentz for the starting gig this summer. 

“I don’t think that’s an option,” Heinicke remarked. “You look at the NFL and at the end of the day, it’s kind of a business. If you’re paying someone $30 million and you’re paying someone else $2 million — you’re paying this guy $30 million to play, you know?

“Carson’s a great quarterback and you see it through OTAs and minicamp. And I hope he goes out there and succeeds. And again, my job is just to back him up. Hopefully, he’s on his deal, help him out in whatever way I can, and if for some reason he goes down, I’m ready to go play. That’s how I look at it. But, again, the NFL’s a business. You’re paying a guy a lot of money, you’re paying him money for a reason. He’s gonna go play.” 

One wonders how long Heinicke will serve as a backup in Washington. The Commanders selected former North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft, and logic suggests Rivera and company will eventually want to see Howell in action over Heinicke. 

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