The Saints will have quarterback Drew Brees back in action this afternoon, but they will be without their expected backup. The team announced that it has placed Jameis Winston on the reserve/COVID-19 list, thereby ruling him out for New Orleans’ much-anticipated battle with the Chiefs. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Winston did not test positive for the coronavirus, but he is a close contact of someone who did.
The plan was to have Winston serve as Brees’ QB2 so that Taysom Hill, who went 3-1 as as Brees’ replacement under center over the past four games, could resume his jack-of-all-trades role. However, Winston’s placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list means that Hill will be the backup signal-caller, and the Saints may be more reluctant to deploy him as a runner/receiver as a result.
Just this morning, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote that Winston could have a future with the Saints beyond the 2020 campaign. Though Hill signed an extension in April and is expected to become the team’s starting QB in 2021 — assuming Brees retires — New Orleans has reportedly been impressed with Winston’s work ethic and ability.
The former No. 1 overall pick of the Buccaneers signed a modest one-year, $1MM pact with the Saints this year in an effort to rebuild his value, and there may be opportunities for him elsewhere in the coming offseason. But given Hill’s lack of experience, the Saints might still represent his best chance to win a starting job.
After a wild roller coaster ride in 2019 that saw him lead the league in passing yards (5,109) while throwing for 33 TDs against a stunning 30 interceptions, Winston has attempted just 10 passes this season.
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