Were Washington Right to Cut Haskins?

Were Washington Right to Cut Haskins?
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Were Washington Right to Cut Dwayne Haskins? Let’s take a look.

It’s rare to see a first round pick cut during their rookie deal. Even more so for it to happen to a Quarterback. While Dwayne Haskins didn’t quite get the Lynn Bowden treatment of being cut before taking a snap, he was run out of town pretty fast. 

Haskins’ stats have ticked up pretty much across the board, they are far from impressive. Washington Coach Ron Rivera has made it clear from the outset the Haskins was not his man. Regardless it is a tough sell to cut the incumbent starting quarterback, a former first round pick no less. It’s also a surprise to see a young QB have such low value that he wasn’t traded. Granted it’s long past the trade deadline. Even so, it wouldn’t be too taxing on the roster to keep Haskins as one of the 53 for one or two more games before trading him in the offseason.

In year two, Haskins has more yards, a higher completion percentage (61%) and, most impressively, more yards per game. But Haskins has only five TDs in seven games and, despite the improvement, still only 205 yards per game in seven games. Compare that to Justin Herbert. He had 28 TDs and 288 yards a game, with 66.3% completion percentage over 14 games as a rookie.

The fact that Haskins wasn’t selected off waivers shows what the rest of the league thinks of Dwayne Haskins ability, at least in comparison to his weaknesses and the headaches he causes.

Can Washington draft a replacement?

Perhaps the most surprising element of Haskins release is Washington’s draft positioning. Currently Washington hold at best the 19th pick in the draft as NFC East division winners. If Washington lost the division, they would likely hold get somewhere around the 11th pick. However it could rise as high as the 7th pick depending on tiebreakers . Assuming the Football Team have a pick outside the top ten, they will struggle to get their hands on the blue chip QBs. It’s worth noting that four QBs are expected to go in the top ten. 

Rivera made it clear that Haskins wasn’t his guy. He hasn’t appeared an impartial judge of the sophomore’s talent, it’s off the field issues that have curtailed Haskins Washington career. Even the positives seem to have been outweighed by an issue. Between missing victory formation snaps taking photos with fans and breaking covid protocols to go to a strip club, there is always an issue. At a certain point, the off the field issues are not worth his middling-to-low ability in the NFL. If Haskins had been a good professional, he would be preparing for a third season in DC.

Was it the right move for Washington?

What this really shows is the power of Ron Rivera within the Washington franchise. Rivera was involved in the naming crisis in the offseason before coaching his first game with the team. Now they are picking Rivera over Haskins and not even keeping the Ohio State alum around to compete for a spot on the roster. They aren’t even keeping a young QB around as trade bait. In one of the few comparable examples, the Cardinals traded Josh Rosen, who had similar stats to Haskins as a rookie, to the Dolphins for second and fifth round picks. Rosen hasn’t had the same off the field red flags. However there have been questions about his character and attitude, largely due to having interests away from football.

So was it the right decision? Haskins has shown very little in his first two seasons. Washington’s run to the division title is on the back of the defence, not Haskins. In fact Haskins has been benched for Kyle Allen, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinecke this season. Haskins will get another chance somewhere. But based on his body of work, you can’t blame Washington for releasing a future career backup. Whether they got the compensation they could have is another matter.

Image: Brad Mills / USA Today Sports

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