- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Taylor Heinicke is leaving the Washington Commanders.

The fan favorite quarterback agreed to a two-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons, according to multiple reports. The deal is worth $14 million with $6.3 million guaranteed, but can be worth as much as $20 million with incentives — top-end money for a backup. 

The Falcons are still expected to start Desmond Ridder — a third-round pick from last year’s draft who started the final four games — but Heinicke gives them a reliable backup with starting experience. 

“Wanted to take a moment and say THANK YOU to Washington!” Heinicke wrote on Instagram. “The love and support has been unmatched the last couple years. The memories I’ll cherish forever. You gave me a second chance and it’s forever changed my life.” 

Heinicke later posted a picture of him wearing Falcons-colored sneakers with the caption “RISE UP.”

Heinicke started 25 games, including the playoffs, for the Commanders over the past three seasons with a 12-12-1 record.

More notable, however, was Heinicke’s journey to Washington. The Old Dominion graduate, who came into the league as an undersized, undrafted free agent, joined the Commanders more than midway through the 2020 season after being out of the NFL for more than a year — and then proceeded to start a playoff game in which he dazzled in a losing effort. The following seasons, the Commanders unexpectedly relied on Heinicke for good chunks of the season as he started 15 games in 2021 and nine games in 2022.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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