Washington released 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins on Monday, less than 24 hours after he committed three turnovers in a loss to Carolina and in the aftermath of another violation of pandemic protocols.
Haskins started in place of injured quarterback Alex Smith despite being disciplined for breaking COVID-19 rules by partying with several people without a mask. He was fined $40,000 and stripped of his captaincy, but coach Ron Rivera opted to stick with Haskins because Smith was still injured and he didn't have another established QB on the roster.
“My time with the WFT has unfortunately come to an end,” Haskins tweeted. “I thank the team & fans for the opportunity to play for the team I grew up rooting for. I take full responsibility for not meeting the standards of an NFL QB & will become a better man & player because of this experience.”
Rivera said Monday morning either Smith or Taylor Heinicke would start the regular-season finale at Philadelphia with the NFC East title on the line. It was clear Rivera was done with Haskins, whom he had shuffled to the bottom of the depth chart for the second time this season.
“Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can dig your way back out of it,” Rivera said. “I hope he learns from these experiences. Hopefully, they’ll make him stronger and they’ll help him and, hopefully, when he gets his next opportunity, he’ll make the best of it.”
Haskins was 14 of 28 with two interceptions and a fumble against the Panthers before being benched for Heinicke, who hadn't played in the NFL since 2018. Rivera was asked what he'd like to see from Haskins in the next week and responded, “Just improvement.”
That will have to come elsewhere. He has some tools to succeed in the pros, but hasn't been able to put it all together in 16 appearances.
“You watch his talent, and you see the arm,” Rivera said. "That’s the thing that I think is his most redeeming quality as a quarterback, which I think is probably the most important thing.”