The speculation on who will be starting Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers next season is eclipsing most other news today. But there’s one part of it many people are not talking about. If either Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love don’t return next year, the Packers will need a backup Quarterback. One experienced Quarterback expected to hit the market is soon to be former Washington Commander’s signal caller, Taylor Heinicke.
Heinicke started his NFL career as an undrafted free agent signing with the Vikings in 2015. He then began bouncing around teams like the Patriots, the Texans, and the Panthers before finally landing with the Washington Commanders franchise. It was with Washington in 2020 that he finally earned himself some praise after having to replace starter Dwayne Haskins in the fourth quarter week 16 vs the Panthers. Heinicke threw went 12 for 19 for 137 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He then started in a playoff game that season going 26 of 44 for 306 yards a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for a touchdown in the eventual loss.
This is where the fun begins
Taylor Heinicke then signed a two-year extension with Washington where he ended up starting most of the 2021 season. He threw for 3,419 yards, 20 TD’s and 15 interceptions. He also ran for 313 yards and 1 touchdown. Heinicke wasn’t at all perfect, but he was undoubtedly exciting for Washington fans who haven’t consistently seen a decent Quarterback in decades. He once dressed up as Packers QB Brett Favre for Halloween, he wore the number 4, and was starting to even draw comparisons to the ole gunslinger. I’d say in 2022, Washington would have Heinicke as a lock to start right?
In the offseason, Washington then traded for Quarterback Carson Wentz. The joke was on them as Wentz went down to injury after week 6 prompting Heinicke to take over. Wentz wasn’t that impressive in the games he was healthy anyways and when it came down to it, Heinicke had a better season than Wentz. Despite that, the Commanders still upgraded Wentz to play when available, and he still did awful.
After their debacle of a season at the QB position, Washington is electing to start young QB Sam Howell next year. Which makes Taylor Heinicke, whose contract expires in 2023, either a backup, or a free agent.
Green Bay has entered the chat
About two months ago I put together an article stating The 2023 Packers may not be big enough for Rodgers and Love. And here we are today discussing Aaron Rodgers’ future and whether or not if he stays, Jordan Love stays.
When asked about Free Agency during his appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Thursday, Heinicke said he “Would love to be a Packer or return to the Commanders.” Heinicke stated it’s been a childhood dream to play for the Packers. If either Rodgers or Love don’t return next year, Heinicke could be an easy signing to back up who stays as long as they don’t make too low of an offer.
But do we want him?
Heinicke is a bit of a Wild Card. As I said before, he’s been compared to Brett Favre. Packer fans know that with the right coaching and support cast, that kind of Quarterback can succeed. I think Heinicke has the drive to be successful.
As far as fitting in with the Matt LaFleur scheme goes, I think Heinicke would perform just fine. He’s not lightning fast but can be mobile when called upon. Heinicke has just enough experience to be a decent backup. If something were to happen to Rodgers or Love, I believe Heinicke would be able to step in and still give the team a decent chance to win.
If Rodgers stays and somehow Love doesn’t, I’d say absolutely bring in Taylor Heinicke. He could be a serviceable backup to Rodgers while the Packers perhaps draft a new QB of the future.
If Love starts and Rodgers is gone, this is where it gets maybe a little dicey. Heinicke has the experience to step in if needed and perform as I said. However, I’m not sure he’s the veteran presence I would want for Jordan Love in his first season as a starter. Perhaps there’s a better veteran QB out there that could be more suited for the job.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.