Last year, Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke entered the season as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s backup.
Then Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury that ended his season in Week One. So Heinicke became the team’s starter for 15 of the last 16 games, missing one contest while on the COVID-19 list.
Heinicke compiled a 7-8 record as a starter, completing 65 percent of his passes for 3,419 yards with 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
But Heinicke knew the Commanders would go after another quarterback in the offseason, which they did by acquiring Carson Wentz.
So now even though Heinicke has experience and showed some flashes, he knows it’s unrealistic to think that he can knock Wentz off from being Washington’s starter this year — in large part because of their respective contracts.
“I don’t think that’s an option,” Heinicke said in his Wednesday press conference. “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.”
Heinicke’s right in that Washington is likely to give Wentz every opportunity to show he can be a viable NFL quarterback this season. But based on the way Wentz’s last two seasons have gone, it’s probably wise to never say never.