Commentary: Haskins’ downfall was predictable — and painful to watch

Week 15
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) during the first half of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Football Team on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

This was not a surprise.

Maybe the release of quarterback Dwayne Haskins was unexpected in that it came with only a week left in the regular season, but this has been building and it was clear that Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera was going to move on from the 2019 first-round pick in the offseason.

There was no reason to believe that Haskins was going to change after all the chances he had been given.

Haskins, picked 15th overall by the team in 2019, had two years left on his rookie deal. He has already been paid over $10 million by Washington. Rarely do you see a player get released that quickly into a rookie deal, but Haskins proved that he wasn’t able to handle life in the NFL.

Remember that the previous coaching staff did not want to draft Haskins a year ago. The call to draft the Bullis High School product came from owner Dan Snyder.

After being benched in week five, following a 31-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Haskins was only back on the field because Alex Smith was injured. Haskins realized that he was getting perhaps one more shot here in Washington to be a starter, and he wanted to prove to the coaching staff that he had changed since his benching in week five.

It was obvious that he hadn’t.

After a two-interception game against the Seattle Seahawks, he was seen partying with people not wearing a mask and violating NFL COVID-19 protocols. It was his second violation. Earlier this season, he was fined for making a reservation for a family friend at the team hotel.

He put his entire team in jeopardy with his actions and should have been suspended. Instead, Rivera took the captaincy from him and fined him $40,000.

But the head coach realized that Haskins gave his team the best opportunity to beat the Carolina Panthers, so he gave him one more shot.

Haskins didn’t take advantage of it on Sunday. He turned the ball over three times in the first half and finished 14 of 28 for 154 yards before being benched for Taylor Heinicke.

Who’s Taylor Heinicke?

A guy that was taking online classes at Old Dominion and out of the NFL just a month ago. That’s how bad it has gotten for Haskins.

In his Monday morning Zoom press conference, Rivera made it clear that if Alex Smith can’t play, Heinicke will be quarterback this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Haskins was not going to see the field. The time has come to move on.

In two seasons, Haskins played a total of 15 games and was 3-10 as a starter, with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

As far as what’s next for Haskins, if the 23-year-old quarterback clears waivers this week, then he is free to sign with another team at any time. If a team claims him, though, that team is responsible for his fully guaranteed $4.3 million salary over the next two years.

George Wallace

George Wallace is the WTOP sports director. He began at WTOP on Christmas Day of 2000.

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