Jameis Winston

Saints To Re-Sign QB Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston will be back in New Orleans next season. The quarterback is re-signing with the Saints, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth up to $12MM. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the deal includes $5.5MM guaranteed.

Following the retirement of Drew Brees, the Saints have some question marks at the position for the first time since 2005. Barring an unexpected move, Winston will compete with teammate Taysom Hill for the starting gig in 2021. Similar to Winston, Hill will also be playing the 2021 campaign on a one-year, $12MM deal (despite the funky restructuring by the organization yesterday).

Winston, the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, joined the Saints last offseason following five underwhelming years in Tampa Bay. Winston got into four games during his first season in New Orleans, completing seven of his 11 pass attempts for 75 yards. He also came up key during the Saints’ postseason loss to the Buccaneers, completing his lone pass attempt for 56 yards and a score.

Hill actually got eight starts and 16 appearances for the Saints this past season, leading some to wonder whether he has the upper hand on the QB competition heading into the offseason. However, the team’s been nothing but complimentary of Winston since his arrival, noting his performance in practice and on the sideline, and it sounds like the former first-rounder will have an equal chance at the starting gig in 2021.

We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis Winston,” coach Sean Payton said last month. “We didn’t have a normal offseason, but we had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader, and as an athlete. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team. That’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us.

And, a lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent. But him, along with Taysom Hill who’s in the building, we’ve said it all along: We’re going to develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”

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Saints’ Sean Payton: “Big Interest” In Re-Signing Jameis Winston

The Saints like what they’ve seen from Jameis Winston. On Wednesday, Saints head coach Sean Payton said there’s “big interest” in bringing the quarterback back for 2021. 

[RELATED: Drew Brees To Retire]

We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis Winston,” Payton told NFL Network (Twitter link). “We didn’t have a normal offseason, but we had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader, and as an athlete. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team. That’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us.

And, a lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent. But him, along with Taysom Hill who’s in the building, we’ve said it all along: We’re going to develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”

In 2019, Winston set career-highs in passing yards (5,109) and touchdowns (33) in 2019, while also setting a league-wide watermark with 30 interceptions. After that, Winston joined the Saints on a modest one-year, $1MM pact last year in an effort to rebuild his value. He’s done that, to some extent, by impressing his coaches in practice.

Payton had “great” exposure to Winston, even though the volume wasn’t tremendous. Winston served as the Saints’ QB3, slotted behind both Drew Brees and Taysom Hill. The former No.1 overall pick made four appearances this season, completing seven of his eleven pass attempts for 75 yards. The highlight of his year came in the playoffs, when he threw for a touchdown against his pals.

Now, with Brees set to retire, the Saints could have more reps available for the 27-year-old signal caller.

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Latest On Drew Brees’ Future

While Drew Brees has been quiet about his future, those close to him believe he’ll hang up his cleats following the season. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport relays that “everybody believes that [Brees] will retire at the end of this season” (Twitter link). The 42-year-old is “hoping for one last run through the playoffs…hoping to end his career on the podium holding a big trophy.”

While we’ve yet to hear anything definitive about the future Hall of Fame’s status going forward, the writing has been on the wall for a while. Brees inked a deal with NBC Sports last April, signaling his post-playing career. The organization also agreed to an extension with Taysom Hill this offseason, keeping their backup QB under club control through 2021. Predictably, GM Mickey Loomis recently said that Brees would be welcomed back if he wanted to continue playing beyond this season, but the executive also revealed that no final decision has been made.

The Saints got a glimpse of what a post-Brees team could look like in 2020. The veteran missed four games, with Hill going 3-1 in his stead. While Hill is better known for his versatile skill set (he finished the season with 555 yards from scrimmage and nine rushing and receiving touchdowns), he showed that he’s capable under center. The 30-year-old finished the season having completed 72.7-percent of his passes for 928 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.

It sounds like the Saints are also interested in retaining the third quarterback on their roster. Rapoport reports that the organization would like to re-sign Jameis Winston, noting that the Saints “love what they’ve seen in practice.” While the team has touted Winston’s arm strength and work ethic, they’re still (predictably) wary of his tendency of interception. The former first-overall pick got into four games this season, completing seven of his 11 pass attempts for 75 yards.

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Saints Place Jameis Winston On Reserve/COVID-19 List

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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Latest on Taysom Hill, Drew Brees

Today could be the dawn of a new era for the Saints, as Taysom Hill will get the nod at quarterback in place of the injured Drew Brees. Although some were surprised that New Orleans would turn to Hill instead of the considerably more experienced Jameis Winston, the Saints and head coach Sean Payton have made it clear that they see Hill as a long-term starter.

This offseason, the Saints and Hill agreed to a two-year, $21MM extension that keeps the 30-year-old under club control through the 2021 season. $16MM of that money was guaranteed at signing, and though the contract represents a big commitment for a backup QB/Swiss Army knife, it’s a modest payout for a starting signal-caller. And soon after the deal was signed, reports surfaced indicating that the club plans to give the job to Hill if Brees retires at the end of the 2020 campaign as expected.

So, one reason New Orleans is inserting Hill into the starting lineup is simply because it believes in him and thinks he provides the best chance to win in Brees’ absence. The other, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, is that the Saints need to know what they have in Hill.

A source familiar with Payton’s thinking said, “Sean just wants to know,” when asked why the head coach is forging ahead with Hill. After all, Hill has thrown just 18 passes in his pro career, and Brees’ injury gives the Saints a perfect opportunity to see if their faith in the BYU product is justified. If Hill struggles, the club could pivot to Winston, and it could also save $5MM against the 2021 cap by cutting Hill after the season.

Some within the organization do not agree with Payton’s choice, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Winston apparently has plenty of support among the team’s staffers, and Payton himself struggled with the decision. Depending on how things play out over the coming weeks, Winston remains an option for 2021.

As for Brees himself, his injury is even more extensive than previously thought. According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com, Brees has 11 rib fractures — eight on his left side and three on his right (Twitter link). However, doctors have been encouraged by Brees’ progress, including improvement in his lung function, and the 41-year-old passer believes he will be able to come off IR as soon as he is eligible in Week 14 (Twitter links via Werder).

Even if it takes until Week 15 for Brees to return to the field, it sounds like the Saints will have the future Hall of Famer back in time for at least one more playoff run.

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Saints Place Drew Brees On IR

Drew Brees is now guaranteed to miss at least three games. The Saints placed the future Hall of Fame quarterback on IR on Friday, shelving him until Week 14.

Sean Payton declined to confirm reports Taysom Hill will replace Brees in New Orleans’ starting lineup instead of Jameis Winston. But that appears to be the plan, with ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini indicating the team is not planning to use Winston in any packages Sunday (Twitter link).

This is quite the bold strategy for the Saints, considering Hill has thrown 18 career passes. Winston may well see time during Brees’ absence, as he did when Brees went down in Week 10, but the former Buccaneers QB is currently set to be Hill’s backup. This certainly represents a step back for the five-year Bucs starter, who stands to be a free agent again in 2021.

As for Brees, he has sought additional opinions regarding his punctured lung and cracked ribs this week. The 41-year-old passer is believed to have fractured at least five ribs and punctured a lung. He was already confirmed to miss at least two games; the IR distinction will provide the Saints a roster spot.

Given the steep dropoff between Brees and his backups, this certainly could reshape the NFC playoff picture. Only one team receives a bye this year, thanks to the new CBA’s expanded playoff bracket, and no team has made a Super Bowl appearance without a bye since 2012. The Saints did win five games with Teddy Bridgewater starting last year, however. Over the next three weeks, the Saints have two games against the Falcons — in Weeks 11 and 13 — and one against the Broncos.

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Saints To Start Taysom Hill Over Jameis Winston

With Drew Brees sidelined, it looked as though the stage was set for Jameis Winston to reassert himself as an NFL starter. Instead, the Saints go with Taysom Hill on Sunday, leaving Winston to hold the clipboard against the Falcons (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

While Winston set career-highs in passing yards (5,109) and touchdowns (33) in 2019, he also set a career-high (and led the NFL) with 30 interceptions. He later agreed to a one-year, $1.1MM deal with the Saints, giving him an opportunity to learn from Brees and, perhaps, take over for him if given the opportunity.

Winston got the call when Brees’ rib injury forced him out against the Niners, and he went on to complete six of ten passes for 63 yards. Apparently, that didn’t guarantee Winston’s status as the fill-in starter ahead of Hill. Regardless of who takes the first snap, the Saints could use Winston and Hill interchangeably.

After notching their sixth-straight win, the Saints are 7-2 and marching their way towards another playoff run. Meanwhile, both of their backup QBs will be making their case to take over for Brees in 2021, if the future Hall of Famer calls it a career.

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Saints’ Drew Brees To Miss At Least 2 Games

The Saints will be without Drew Brees for at least a little while longer. The latest round of tests on the quarterback more or less matched the previous one, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). With cracked ribs on both sides and a punctured lung, Brees will be out for the next two weeks at the minimum. After that, the Saints’ medical staff will closely monitor Brees’ condition to assess whether he can return to the field.

With Brees sidelined, Jameis Winston is expected to start for the Saints with his first assignment coming on Sunday against the Falcons.Winston filled in for Brees after his early exit against the 49ers, completing six of ten passes for 63 yards in the second half. This is a massive opportunity for Winston to reassert himself before free agency, even if his starting gig only lasts for a couple of weeks. The former first overall pick signed a one-year deal with the Saints back in April. Meanwhile, Brees is looking ahead to his broadcasting future, which means that Winston could be auditioning for the long-term position.

Given Brees’ impressive track record of playing through the pain — and the presence of Taysom Hill — many questioned the wisdom of Winston’s offseason decision. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to show what he can do at the helm of one of the NFL’s best teams.

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Drew Brees Has Multiple Fractured Ribs, Collapsed Lung

We heard early this morning that the Saints were bracing for the possibility of Drew Brees missing time, and now that sounds like an absolute certainty. Brees is dealing with multiple fractured ribs as well as a collapsed right lung, Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

In a follow-up tweet, Werder notes that Brees suffered two fractured ribs during New Orleans’ win over the 49ers, and he had three other fractures on the other side from their win over the Bucs the week before that weren’t discovered until Monday’s X-Rays. He also writes that doctors have advised Brees to be cautious with the collapsed lung, which makes it sound like his return to the field won’t be imminent.

Brees has also been on the injury report this year with a shoulder issue, and all these ailments explain why Brees called it an “accumulative thing” after the game on Sunday. On the bright side Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that injured reserve is not currently being discussed, so it sounds like there’s still a chance the injuries aren’t too long-term.

For however long Brees has to be sidelined, it will presumably be Jameis Winston under center, although Sean Payton could easily go with Taysom Hill as well at a moment’s notice. Winston filled in for Brees in the second half against the 49ers, completing six of ten passes for 63 yards. When Brees was on the shelf last year the Saints had Teddy Bridgewater start five games.

Even if it’s only a game or two, this is a massive opportunity for Winston to redefine his narrative and reset his value heading into unrestricted free agency next offseason. The former first overall pick signed a one-year deal with the Saints back in April. Many already believed this would be Brees’ final season, as he lined up a deal with NBC Sports for his post-playing days this offseason, and the toll his body is clearly taking might only make that decision easier. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have more information on the situation.

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South Rumors: Saints, Kelly, Titans, Jaguars

The Saints are currently without one of their starting offensive linemen. That may be the case for a bit. Andrus Peat suffered a broken thumb, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Recently re-signed to a lucrative deal, Peat is set to be out up to three weeks, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. While the sixth-year guard could be ready for Week 1, the Saints have an experienced interior-line swing man ready to fill in. Former Vikings starter Nick Easton is now working in Peat’s place at left guard. Easton replaced an injured Peat as a starter in six games last season.

Here is the latest from the South divisions:

  • Alvin Kamara and the Saints began extension talks last week, but the sides may be far apart on terms. A deal is not particularly close at this juncture, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. Kamara is going into the final year of his third-round rookie contract. The three-time Pro Bowler will make just $2.13MM this season. Kamara joins Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon among 2017 running back draftees in negotiations. This group will battle a few hurdles — short running back primes, the position’s low value, poor returns on a few recent high-end running back deals and a likely 2021 cap reduction — as they attempt to secure long-term deals.
  • Jameis Winston has hired a new agent. The new Saints QB2 has selected Reggie Johnson of Stellar Group to represent him, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. Johnson will be Winston’s third agent since 2018. The former Buccaneers starter may be a long-term option for the Saints, but unlike Drew Brees and Taysom Hill, Winston is signed only through 2020. He could also be set to test the market again next year.
  • Ryan Kelly said in May he and the Colts were discussing an extension. With a contract season looming, the Pro Bowl center insists he would like to stay in Indianapolis long-term, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. Given Kelly’s age (27) and importance to a Colts O-line that ranks as one of the NFL’s best, he is in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid center — perhaps by a notable margin. Rodney Hudson‘s second Raiders deal currently resides atop the center list, at $11.25MM per year. This AAV figure sits more than $3MM below the top guard salary and nearly $11MM south of the leading tackle contract.
  • The Titans worked out one of their former linebackers Monday. Will Compton auditioned for the team, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Compton, 30, played 12 games for the 2018 Titans, starting two. He last played for the Raiders, suiting up for nine Oakland contests in 2019.
  • An assault case against Jaguars fullback Bruce Miller has been dismissed, according to Miller’s attorney (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic, on Twitter). Miller, 33, has not played since 2015. After allegedly assaulting a man and his son in 2016 in San Francisco, Miller was charged with aggravated assault and elder abuse.