Reports: Heinicke tests positive for COVID, WFT signs Gilbert

Taylor Heinicke

The Washington Football Team’s coronavirus outbreak has put its starting quarterback’s status for Sunday in jeopardy after Taylor Heinicke tested positive for the virus Friday, according to multiple reports. Heinicke joins backup quarterback Kyle Allen and 19 other teammates on the COVID/reserve list ahead of their game against the Eagles.

Down both quarterbacks on its active roster, Washington has been forced to look outside the organization for help at football’s most important position. On Friday, the team signed quarterback Garrett Gilbert, making him a candidate to start for Washington should neither Heinicke nor Allen clear protocols in time.

Already without Week 1 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick due to a season-ending hip injury, the only other signal-callers available to the team are practice squad QBs Jordan Ta’amu and Kyle Shurmur. Both were signed just this week.

Gilbert, 30, has appeared in seven games during his NFL career. He made his first and only start for the Cowboys last season due to a series of injuries and COVID cases. The 2014 sixth-round pick of the Rams has attempted 44 career passes for 283 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He spent this season on the Patriots’ practice squad before joining Washington.

With the Omicron variant on the rise around the globe, Washington is one of three NFL teams dealing with outbreaks affecting 20 or more players. The Browns are down 21 players including quarterback Baker Mayfield while the Rams may be without as many as 25 players when they face the Seahawks on Sunday.