Falcons GM on backup QB Taylor Heinicke: “Moxie”

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The Falcons are paying more money to their backup quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, than most teams in the NFL are paying for their reserve signal caller.

Heinicke’s deal is essentially for one year and worth $7 million with a cap hit of $5 million. His cap hit would be $9 million if he’s not released, but Atlanta can save $7 million against the cap if they release him before his 2024 roster bonus. The incentives are what make this deal worthwhile for Heinicke. An extra $3 million each year if he reaches certain playtime thresholds.

The Falcons hopefully won’t be paying those incentives because Desmond Ridder has taken a stranglehold of the starting job, but Taylor Heinicke is a nice insurance policy and one of the best backups in the league.

What drew Falcons GM Terry Fontenot to him will surprise some fans. Moxie is the word he used to describe him.

“If you don’t have the intangibles, I don’t care how much physical talent you have, it doesn’t matter. Both of those players have the intangibles,” Fontenot said. “We know the way they’re going to work, the way they’re going to compete.”

The Falcons clearly value intangibles as much, if not more, than tangible attributes. Taylor Henicke is no different. He’s a high-character individual who, unlike Marcus Mariota, knows his role in Atlanta.

“They drafted (Ridder) high last year for a reason,” Heinicke said. “They believe in him for a reason. He showed some good film last year. If something unfortunate happens to him, I’ll be ready to go. That’s kind of been my life the last three years. I will try to be the best backup I can to Desmond, try to help him any way I can.”

Moxie would be one way to describe Heincike, especially if you watched him almost lead an improbable upset over Tom Brady‘s Buccaneers in the playoffs. He plays fearless and has taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him in Washington. The Falcons’ quarterback room isn’t the most talented, but the front office is high on it.

Photographer: Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire

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