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Rams should sign Taylor Heinicke as backup QB once he hits free agency

LA desperately needs an experienced backup behind Stafford

NFL: Washington Commanders at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

If one thing was for certain after watching the Los Angeles Rams this season, it’s that they desperately need a quarterback behind Matthew Stafford. LA needs a legitimate NFL QB and an experienced one at that. Baker Mayfield proved himself as a capable starter once again but he’s doubtful to stay in Hollywood and warm the bench for Stafford.

Judging by the list of upcoming free agent signal callers, the Rams might end up getting that experience. They’re way out of the market for Tom Brady yet I would never say never. I hope everyone knows I was kidding there. Brady would trigger a tablet genocide on the sideline if he was named a benchwarmer.

Instead, the most realistic option the Rams should sign if he hits the market is Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders quarterback went 5-3-1 as a starter in Washington this season, completing 62% of his passes while tossing 12 touchdowns to six interceptions. He added a spark in the Nation’s Capital and put his team in playoff contention before that opportunity came and Wentz.

Heinicke has never been a gamechanger nor a model of consistency. However, when he’s stepped into action for Washington, it’s clear the team played far differently with him compared to Carson Wentz.

Wentz was never going to be the answer in Washington. Thank goodness the Rams made the right choice back in the 2016 draft right? Right? Anyways, it’s not about Washington’s 12-11-1 record in Heinicke’s starts since ‘21 that matters. Quarterback wins are a misleading stat as TM had strong defensive play to ease the pressure off the offense he led on the field.

Fact is, Heinicke has performed well when it matters. I believe we all remember where we were when he unexpectedly started a playoff game in the 2020 postseason against the eventual Super Bowl champions, Tampa Bay. Okay, I don’t remember where I was but his remarkable performance took the spotlight off TB12 for a night.

Taylor Heinicke is overall an average quarterback but he has the tendency to step up in the clutch. As I’ve mentioned, he’s not the most reliable guy in the first three quarters. Once the fourth quarter arrives, he decides to become the comeback king. Seriously, I couldn’t believe these stats when I saw them:

If there’s one notable flaw in his game, it’s turnovers that have been his biggest concern. In his 26 games played with Washington, Heinicke has 14 fumbles (six of them lost) while tossing 21 picks. During the Rams championship season, Matt had some company in the turnover department.

So if Stafford is forced to miss time and TM takes the reins, it’ll be like he never left! Again I hope everyone knows I’m (sorta) joking there. Either way, Heinicke would be a major upgrade over John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. He has plenty of NFL experience including a very brief playoff run. Taylor would stabilize a position of relative need for the Rams, assuming Mayfield plays elsewhere next season.

Watching the 49ers run to the NFC Championship with a couple backup QBs shows why the Rams need experience behind Stafford. The injury bug has not been kind to him in recent years. This season, Matt missed the final eight games with lingering head and neck issues. Two years prior to his first year in LA, Stafford also missed half the season due to injury.

For most of his career, the Rams’ QB1 has been quite durable. With age creeping up on him, it’s time Los Angeles gets some quality insurance at the game’s most vital position. Speaking of insurance, I wonder if Baker would be willing to share the name of his Progressive agent before he leaves town.

Quarterback obviously isn’t the only position of need for LA in what appears to be a crucial offseason for the team. The Rams have to sign a veteran if they hope to remain in contention should Stafford miss time. That is why Taylor Heinicke should be at the top of their free agent wish list once he’s available.