PITTSBURGH – Dwayne Haskins, a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, accepted a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers after meeting the team on Thursday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The quarterback was released by the Washington football team less than a month ago, a day after being benched in a loss to the Carolina Panthers. He was pictured without a mask at his girlfriend’s birthday party following a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was fined $ 40,000 for his second violation of COVID-19 protocols and lost his position as captain.
He still started against the Panthers but played poorly and was benched. Haskins was later demoted to a player, Taylor Heinicke, who joined the Washington practice squad less than a month earlier. Haskins was then abruptly released the day after the loss to Carolina.
“I told him I believe it benefits both sides that we go our separate ways,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in a statement at the time. “We want to thank Dwayne for his contributions over the past two seasons and wish him the best of luck moving forward.”
In a tweet, Haskins wrote: “I take full responsibility for failing to meet the standards of an NFL QB and will become a better man and player because of this experience.”
Haskins, drafted 15th overall by Washington in 2019 and often criticized for his lack of work ethic, had a tumultuous tenure with his NFL first team.
Its selection was driven by owner Dan Snyder, going against the wishes of the franchise football team. Ohio State coaches told coaches it would take time to mature as a professional and the organization intended to put him through his rookie season.
But injuries in other quarterbacks and a poor record led Haskins to start seven games as a rookie. After a disastrous first performance, Haskins finished with two good outings to close his season. In those games, he posted a combined total of 74.8 QBR. But his QBR total for the season was 28 and this season it was 31.
During the last offseason, Rivera said Haskins had talent as a franchise quarterback, but needed to become more of a leader. Rivera was happy with what he saw of Haskins during the offseason. Haskins received all of the first-team reps at training camp and was named a starter at the end of August, although Rivera said he would have opened him up to a competition if there had been. pre-season matches.
Haskins started the first four games, throwing four touchdowns with three interceptions, but with a total of 29.8 QBR. Several sources said they felt he was celebrating his first 300-yard game in the locker room after a 14-point loss to Baltimore.
Rivera benched him for the following week; he was inactive for the next four games until starter Kyle Allen broke his ankle. Haskins relieved an injured Alex Smith for the second half of a Dec. 13 win over San Francisco. Haskins started the next two games, but he didn’t play well. In his last start, the 20-13 loss to Carolina, he posted a total QBR of 4.1.
Haskins, 23, is represented by Brian Levy, who is also Mike Tomlin’s agent.
With his signing, the Steelers signal that they are focused on a future without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger – this year or soon after. The likely future Hall of Famer still has a year on his contract, but he has yet to determine his future with the team. Following the loss of the Joker, Roethlisberger said he would pray about the decision and consult with his family. He added that if he decides to return, he hopes the Steelers want him to return as well.
With third-chain quarterback Josh Dobbs hitting free agency in March, the Steelers are expected to have Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph and Haskins on the roster for 2021, although Roethlisberger comes with a cap of $ 41.2 million.
Information from John Keim of ESPN was used in this report.