On Monday, the Washington Football Team closed the book on their first-round quarterback from 2019.
After 16 games (13 starts) beleaguered with controversy, Dwayne Haskins has been waived. In those 16 games, Haskins-led teams went 3-10, and he had a 60.1 percent completion rate for 2,804 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
The data we’ve seen on the field has been spotty, as Haskins has shown flashes of potential to combat his numerous miscues. There’s just been such a lack in maturity and wherewithal off of the field that Washington deemed him unworthy of the time and effort. As a result, they’ll bite the bullet of roughly $10 million to get rid of him.
But, as we’ve seen time and time again, NFL teams are willing to give second chances to first-round picks, even if they’ve shown immaturity. A glaring example of a coach willing to take the opportunity on players that have had off-field issues is, without a doubt, Bill Belichick.
Now, the obvious question that should follow is: is Haskins worth it? After all, he had an elite season his sophomore year at Ohio State. In 14 games, Haskins posted a 70 percent completion rate for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns. He also turned the ball over just eight times through the air. However, having NFL talent like K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin, and J.K. Dobbins and coaches like Ryan Day and Urban Meyer can undoubtedly help. Haskins had it all, and Washington was a team in a state of flux.
He evidently couldn’t handle it. And when his performance looked poor, his actions away from the gridiron became magnified, especially during a global pandemic.
But on the topic of if he’s worth a look from Bill Belichick, let’s take a look at all of the good that could come out of it.
In some ways, bringing in Haskins along with a one-year bridge quarterback could do the Patriots a lot more good than drafting a guy like Kyle Trask or Mac Jones and doing the same. For one, contractually, it will cost you a lot less in both dollar-value and length. You’d be signing him below the market value of a typical first-round pick going into their third season.
If that veteran quarterback ends up being Cam Newton for another year, it could be perfect for the young quarterback. When Cam Newton went his 86 days between jobs, many thought Washington would make perfect sense. Not just because he’d reunite with former head coach Ron Rivera, but also he could serve as a mentor for the young quarterback who proved to be more raw than polished.
Washington instead traded for Kyle Allen, while Cam Newton went to the Patriots.
Moreover, let’s not lose sight of the fact Haskins was a first-round pick, to begin with. The talent is within the player; it’s just a matter of coaching him up and getting him into a position where he can succeed. Bill Belichick doesn’t exactly have the reputation of “quarterback whisperer,” but they pride themselves on having a structure and playing for each other. Ron Rivera also demands that kind of attitude, but he doesn’t have the same aura as Bill Belichick.
Also, and it kind of coincides with the first point, it’s a very budget-friendly move. That means they could use most of their cap space to bring in guys at other key positions of need (wide receiver, tight end, linebacker). However, the quarterback position isn’t a great one to play ‘Moneyball’ at. Still, if you can develop Haskins on a cheap contract, you can help your team in the interim as well as long-term, which can be done through signing veterans and not worrying about using a first- or second-round pick on a quarterback.
Lastly, if he doesn’t have it you can cut your ties and lose virtually no sleep over it.
Work ethic means everything to Coach Belichick. Haskins has already been given the reputation of having a poor one. Should that continue, you can expect no real development from the 23-year-old.
Not only that, but the film on him isn’t the most flattering. After all, he does have more turnovers than touchdown passes for his career, and is far from the most accurate quarterback in the world. The Patriots are in the midst of dealing with that now in the form of Cam Newton, would they truly want a quarterback room of two inaccurate throwers who are prone to turnovers? Likely not.
Committing to the wrong quarterback could be a death sentence for an organization. It can set you back another four or five season, and is a risk you don’t take unless you are 100 percent confident you can make it work.
Using the scenario from before, where Cam Newton is brought back for one more season to mentor Dwayne Haskins, the worst thing possible is as follows:
- Newton gets hurt
- Haskins still struggles to work hard in preparation and doesn’t mature
- You’re forced to start him
- He’s bad, you have you have no real backup plan, and that’s your de facto franchise face
Going from the most cerebral, prepared quarterback ever to one that doesn’t like to prepare and give his all in practice just two years later would be a terrible look for Bill Belichick. Not to mention every Tom Brady win and Bill Belichick loss will continue to rile up the media and naysayers.
We’ve already seen an angsty Bill Belichick dealing with quarterback-related questions in Year 1. Another year of that, without any sort of success to break it up, could make things a lot worse for the Patriots in the eyes of the market.
Bringing in Haskins could be risky, but pay off in a big way. There’s certainly stuff to be intrigued by, but a lot of negative press has surrounded him for much of the 2020 season. Is he worth it? Time will tell. However, it’s not insane to expect someone to take a chance on him. The only question remaining is: is that someone Bill Belichick would be willing to bring in?