Atlanta Falcons' Taylor Heinicke Contract Restructured; How Much Money Saved?

Taylor Heinicke's contract looks a little different, and it's helping the Atlanta Falcons.
Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) drops back to
Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) drops back to / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke is entering the second and final year of his contract with the team, but it's getting a small restructure going into the season.

ESPN's Michael Rothstein explained how Heinicke's contract will look going into the 2024 season.

"According to Roster Management System, Heinicke took a pay cut recently from an expected $5 million base salary in 2024 to $1.21 million. His $1.32 million roster bonus, which was due just after the league year began last month, was instead classified as a signing bonus," ESPN writes. "His $40,000 per game active roster bonus was also removed from his contract. The reduction in the deal lowers Heinicke's cap number from $8.96 million to $4.53 million -- including a cash value of $2.53 million. If the Falcons were to release him at this point, he would cost $3.32 million in dead money with only a cap savings of $1.21 million."

Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) takes off on
Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) takes off on / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The move comes just a few weeks after Kirk Cousins signed a four-year, $180 million deal. Heinicke's small modifications will save the team a couple million dollars to spend elsewhere or to retain free agents like Calais Campbell or Bud Dupree.

After signing with the Falcons last season to serve as Ridder's backup and mentor, Heinicke became part of the quarterback carousel that plagued the Atlanta's season. The former undrafted free agent made his first appearance off the bench in the Week 8 loss to the Tennessee Titans last season. 

Heinicke would go on to start the next three games before a hamstring injury in the Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, which gave way for Ridder to retake the starting role. That was until Weeks 15 and 16 when Heinicke recorded his first win as a starter with the Falcons against the Indianapolis Colts. However, another injury saw him miss the Week 18 loss to the New Orleans Saints. 

Heinicke finished the year with a 1-3 record as the starter, throwing for 890 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. While that may not strike as “elite” for a backup like Morris said, the 30-year-old earned that reputation with the Washington Commanders in the prior year. 

After kicking off the 2022 season as the backup, an injury to then-starting quarterback Carson Wentz saw Heinicke take over for the next nine games, leading the Commanders to a 5-3-1 record. 

It is that experience that the Falcons hope that if Cousins were to suffer a setback, Heinicke would be more than able to come off the bench and help them win games. 


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Harrison Reno

HARRISON RENO