La Canfora says Fitzpatrick could be cleared to play by Week 7, which would be on the early side of the six to eight-week timeline he received after his hip injury.
However, backup QB Taylor Heinicke has impressed some in the building with the “spark” he’s brought in relief of Fitzpatrick the past few weeks. La Canfora notes some prefer Heinicke due to him being younger and spryer, adding that during the summer Heinicke looked like the better player.
Ultimately, La Canfora writes the final decision rests with Washington HC Ron Rivera. But there’s a real chance Heinicke keeps the starting job.
“I can’t speak for Ron, but it would be really hard to sit him down now,” one team source told La Canfora.
Fitzpatrick, 38, is a former seventh-round pick of the Rams back in 2005. He’s played for several teams over the course of his 13-year NFL career including the Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans and Jets before he signed on with the Buccaneers in 2018.
The Dolphins signed Fitzpatrick to a two-year contract worth $11 million contract in 2019 before he joined Washington this past March on a one-year contract worth $10 million.
In 2020, Fitzpatrick appeared in nine games for the Dolphins and completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also rushed 30 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
Heinicke, 27, wound up signing on with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion back in 2015. He managed to make the 53-man roster during his rookie season but wasn’t active for a single game.
The Vikings elected to waive Heinicke with an injury designation coming out of the preseason in 2017 before eventually cutting him loose with an injury settlement.
Heinicke had brief stints with the Patriots and Texans before being claimed by the Panthers. Carolina released him coming out of the preseason in 2019 and he signed on to Washington’s practice squad late in 2020. He signed a two-year, $8.75 million extension with Washington this offseason.
In 2021, Heinicke has appeared in four games for Washington and completed 69.5 percent of his passing attempts for 960 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s added 20 rush attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown.
We’ll have more on the Washington Football Team’s quarterback situation as the news is available.