Evaluating the Steelers signing of Dwayne Haskins
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Dwayne Haskins was drafted at 15th overall by Washington in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was supposed to be the future franchise quarterback in Washington but he ended up being a bust. Haskins didn't even make it through his second season in Washington as he was released the day after a Week 16 loss to the Panthers. Haskins was benched for Taylor Heinicke in the fourth quarter after completing 14 of 28 passes for 154 yards and two interceptions, finishing with a passer rating of 36.9.
Head coach Ron Rivera said he believed that it benefited both parties if they went their separate ways. The decision came after Haskins continued to make poor decisions and not meeting the team's standards off the field. Following a Week 15 loss to the Seahawks, Haskins was photographed attending his girlfriend's birthday party without wearing a mask. Due to breaking COVID-19 protocols again, he was fined $40,000 by the team and lost his status as a captain.
On Thursday, the Steelers signed Haskins to a reserve/future deal. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Haskins had an opportunity to sign with the Steelers or the Panthers, whom he recently visited, but when he visited Pittsburgh today, he chose the Steelers.
It's a low-risk, high-reward type of move by the Steelers if they can get Haskins career back on track. Haskins is a first-round talent but hasn't lived up to expectations.
Tomlin was reportedly high on Haskins during the draft process and the two also share the same agent, Brian Levy. It should also be noted that Haskins went to high school in Maryland, and Tomlin has connections to the area, as his son is a wide receiver at the University of Maryland and his brother Ed played at Maryland and lives in the Washington D.C. metro area.
At Ohio State, Haskins finished third in the Heisman Trophy race in 2018. He finished his college career completing 413 of 590 passes (70%) for 5,396 yards, 54 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In 2018 he completed 373 of 533 passes (70%) for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Haskins was 3-10 as a starter and completed 267 of 444 passes (60.1%) for 2,804 yards (60.1%) with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in two seasons in Washington. In 2020 he completed 148 of 241 passes for 1,439 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, before being released by Washington.
The Steelers are certainly dealing with a project in Haskins. But he'll provide competition for Mason Rudolph for the No. 2 quarterback spot this year, and could potentially be a starter down the road with Ben Roethlisberger on the last year of his contract. The Steelers also didn't renew Devlin Hodges' contract, and Josh Dobbs is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Haskins did not pan out in Washington, but he definitely has more potential than Dobbs and Hodges.
If Haskins works out, great, the Steelers got a bargain. If he continues to be a bust, then the Steelers will just release him, and it would not affect their cap.
It's really simple as that. I don't see how you can dislike the move. Roethlisberger doesn't have much time left as the signal-caller and the Steelers are just kicking the tires on Haskins to see if he can potentially be the replacement.
As of right now, it seems unlikely that Haskins will be the heir apparent to Roethlisberger, but he's still only 23 years old and has to mature on and off the field. At the end of the day, it's up to Haskins to turn his career around. The Steelers are just giving him a second chance to do so.