- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2020

The Washington Redskins have acquired a quarterback from the Carolina Panthers.

No, not that one.

The Redskins sent a fifth-round pick Monday to the Panthers in exchange for Kyle Allen — not Cam Newton — in a move that brings in competition for starter Dwayne Haskins, a source confirmed. Allen, 24, started 12 games last season for Carolina after Newton was sidelined with a foot injury.

Washington was determined to bring in another signal-caller to push Haskins this summer and in Allen, coach Ron Rivera brought on someone he knows well. Even beyond creating competition for Haskins, the Redskins needed another arm as they lost backups Case Keenum and Colt McCoy in free agency and veteran Alex Smith is still rehabbing from his leg injury.

When Rivera was in Carolina, the Panthers brought on Allen as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He made his NFL debut in Week 16 of that year when Taylor Heinicke, Newton’s backup, suffered an injury. Allen then made his first NFL start a week later in the team’s season finale against the New Orleans Saints.

Last summer, Allen beat out Heinicke to become Carolina’s backup. He was then forced into the starting job when Newton was sidelined with a season-ending foot injury in Week 3.

Allen gained Rivera’s trust as the season progressed, and the coach repeatedly praised his quarterback for dealing with the difficult task of replacing Newton.

“He’s real confident in who he is as a football player,” Rivera told reporters in September. “He’s got a lot of swag, which is interesting when you watch him and he’s been able to back it up. The biggest thing is he did it in high school, he did it in college and the two times he’s played for us he’s played well.”

The Panthers started hot under Allen — going 4-0 in his first four starts of 2019 — but faded as the season went on. Rivera was fired following a loss to the Redskins in December and Carolina eventually turned to rookie Will Grier to end the season. In 12 games, Allen posted a quarterback rating of 80 with 3,332 yards, 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

To Carolina, Allen became movable after it signed Teddy Bridgewater to be its starter last week and added XFL standout P.J. Walker for depth at the position Monday.

It may come as a surprise to some that the Redskins opted to trade for Allen when Newton was available on the trade market. But according to ESPN, Washington had cooled on the prospect of adding the former MVP. Last month, Rivera said he wants to create a “very competitive competition” for Haskins — but if Newton was acquired, there would be an expectation the veteran would start.

Instead, Allen is someone who can compete with Haskins, but has experience being a backup.

He also was the much cheaper option, given Allen will make just $675,000 in 2020, the last year of his deal. Newton, by comparison, carries a base salary of $18 million.

Monday’s transaction shows the Redskins aren’t yet willing to give up on Haskins, their 2019 first-rounder who was seen as a favorite of owner Dan Snyder.

At the NFL scouting combine, Rivera was complimentary of Haskins, even though he didn’t rule out drafting another quarterback with the second overall pick.

“One of the things that Dwayne’s done is he’s been around,” Rivera said. “I mean he’s in the building, he’ll pop by, say hello and wave at you, go get his workout in. He’s been around a group of guys that do that and so he’s learning from their example.”

Earlier in the offseason, Haskins said he wasn’t fazed over having to prove hismelf to a new coaching staff. The Redskins’ acquisition of Allen likely doesn’t change that. Haskins said in January he’d be “cool” with a quarterback competition.

“I’m just going to have to work hard and eventually take it over,” Haskins said. “Just do your best to be accountable for what you have to do and be ready to go.”

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