While it’s not surprising that former number one overall pick Jameis Winston agreed to a contract with a new team pretty much as soon as the 2020 NFL Draft concluded, the team that he signed could be considered mildly unexpected.
Winston’s old squad, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made little effort to re-sign him in free agency, basically told their former top pick to look elsewhere for work after they brought in Tom Brady to helm the team’s offense.
And now, Winston appears content to backup a different Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, as the Saints and the former Buc have reportedly agreed to a one-year contract, first reported by Ian Rapport of NFL Network.
As the #Saints and FA QB Jameis Winston close in on a 1-year deal, worth noting Winston turned down a more lucrative offer elsewhere to learn from some of the best. The former #Bucs starter put the emphasis on his future in a smart choice.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2020
Financial terms of the contract being negotiated are not yet known.
Especially after the draft, starting jobs are few around the league, so Winston seemingly took the Saints deal in order to perhaps become New Orleans’ quarterback of the future.
The Saints appeared to have their QB-in-waiting in Teddy Bridgewater, but he left to take occupy the Carolina Panthers’ starting gig this offseason. New Orleans also has fan-favorite Taysom Hill, who many saw as a candidate to be the Saints’ starter some day, but will turn 30 shortly after the season starts (assuming the season does, in fact, start on time).
Hill agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal today as well, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But he has seen time at running back, wide receiver, and on special teams in additional to a few snaps at quarterback. So it looks like the Saints are anticipating keeping three quarterbacks on their active roster and continuing to use Hill in a versatile, all-over-the-field-type role.
Saints did sign a QB today: Taysom Hill. Saints are signing Hill to a two-year deal that really is a one-year extension of the first-round, $4.6 million contract tender they gave him in March, per source. But Hill is tied to Saints through 2021 season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2020
It was speculated that Winston might get a look from the New England Patriots, but obviously those talks never gained any momentum. That leaves Cam Newton as the best remaining free agent quarterback, but things have been pretty quiet regarding an eventual landing spot for the former Carolina Panther.
Winston has put up big passing numbers, but that goes for turnovers, too, which was seemingly the biggest reason his market in free agency stayed relatively muted until now.
For his career, Winston has 19,737 passing yards on a 61.3 percent completion percentage. But it was his 121-to-88 touchdown-to-interception ratio that grew criticism of his style of play.
It’s hard not to assume Winston sees this as a temporary step back in order to get a bigger contact, and a starting job, next offseason, whether in New Orleans (if Brees retires) or elsewhere.