Another starting quarterback is headed to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Friday that Washington Football Team signal-caller Taylor Heinicke tested positive for COVID-19, per sources informed of the situation. The team placed the QB on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
With backup Kyle Allen already on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Washington is signing Garrett Gilbert off the New England Patriots' practice squad, Rapoport added. The team announced the move later Friday, along with the activation of center Keith Ismael off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Heinicke news is a big blow for Washington, who sits as the No. 7 seed in the NFC ahead of Tuesday's divisional matchup against the similarly 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles. Forced to start a backup with little to no experience while trying to cling to playoff positioning would make life difficult in D.C.
Kyle Shurmur, who has been on the Washington practice squad this season, could be in line for the start if Heinicke and Allen can't clear the COVID-19 protocol. The updated protocol the NFL announced Thursday makes it easier for vaccinated players to test out and be cleared for games.
Gilbert has at least started a game, completing 55.3 percent of his passes for 243 yards, a TD, and an INT last year with the Dallas Cowboys in a loss to Pittsburgh. The question is whether the 30-year-old could get up to speed quick enough. On the plus side, Gilbert has worked with Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner before, back in 2018 when both were members of the Carolina Panthers.
Along with Shurmur and Gilbert, Washington signed Jordan Ta’amu to the practice squad earlier this week.
Washington is likely to hold off as long as possible before naming a starter -- and hope one of its top two options can be cleared in time.