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How Taylor Heinicke Signing Could Impact Bears

A chain reaction could occur and it could eventually mean a quarterback Matt Nagy knows very well could become available as a free agent.

It's possible Washington has helped provide another option for the Bears should this Carson Wentz thing go more sour than it already seems to have gone.

A report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says Washington gave a two-year contract extension to quarterback Taylor Heinicke for $8.75 million with incentives based on starts.

Heinicke isn't exactly a household name. He started the Washington playoff loss to Tampa Bay and played a solid game after it turned out Alex Smith couldn't play due to injury. In fact, he had a better passer rating, more touchdowns, fewer interceptions, more yardage and got his team closer to beating Tampa Bay than Patrick Mahomes did in the Super Bowl.

The connection here is having Heinicke back again for another year adds to the momentum building for Washington to cut Smith for cap purposes.

And if Smith doesn't want to retire at age 36, there's a team coached by someone he was close to in Kansas City, who helped turn around his career, and this person's team could use a quarterback. 

Of course, that's Matt Nagy.

Washington can save $14.7 million against the cap by cutting Smith and his $18.75 million salary. They can't do something about the $4.3 million proration on Smith's bonus, but it would be a sizeable cap savings.

They've signed Heinicke and it's presumed Washington wants Kyle Allen back because such a point was made to acquire him last year. He is a free agent. Washington also has Steven Montez in its quarterback stable. 

It's also thought Washington wants to draft a quarterback, as this is a team often rumored to be involved in trade talk for veterans.

The problem with Smith for the Bears besides his age and injury history is both the possible cost and the fact the cap savings would be even greater on Smith if he's released with a June 1 designation. reported it would be $19 million saved.

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This is fine for Washington but it would deprive Smith's new team of needed time to get him up on the offense.

Then again, during a normal offseason there would still be a few OTAs and a minicamp to go and if any quarterback could quickly fit into Nagy's offense it's Smith. He should need far less time even than Nick Foles required, and Foles didn't have enough time—this was obvious.

Nagy has already identified the team's offensive identity as the outside zone run and bootleg attack. This wasn't part of the original Kansas City attack but it wouldn't be a challenge for Smith to handle the quarterback movement even after his leg surgeries because he showed good mobility last season in his six starts and eight games played.

Smith didn't display the old speed he had as a runner, though. He ran only 10 times for 3 yards after averaging 201 yards a season rushing prior to his horrific leg injury in 2018.

It's entirely possible Smith simply retires, and his passing statistics were actually poor last year as he tried coming off a season away from football—a 78.5 passer rating and 6.3 yards per attempt. They were enough to help Washington win its division, though.

Of course Smith wouldn't be a long-term option at his age, but would be a bridge until a drafted quarterback could be ready to start.

Would a combination of Smith and Mac Jones or Kyle Trask work for the Bears?

Everything's on the table, as Ryan Pace said after the season ended.

It's just more food for thought as the Great Carson Wentz Siege of 2021 continues.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven