Jameis Winston

Saints QB Jameis Winston Playing With Fractures In Spine

After making the long comeback from a torn ACL that ended his 2021 season prematurely, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston continues to display his grit and determination to compete. Winston reportedly played yesterday’s game against the Buccaneers with four fractures in his back. According to Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus, although there’s no risk of further injury, Winston is playing through lots of pain and is wearing extra pads to protect the area. 

Winston suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 1 win over Atlanta. He was escorted to the medical tent on the sideline before returning to the bench. Winston told reporters he was in pain and when asked to specify where, he responded, “Just pain. It was pain everywhere.”

Winston was listed as questionable after being limited all week in practice. The fractures are in the lumbar region of the spine, specifically in the L1, L2, L3, and L4 vertebrae, according to Jay Glazer of NFL on FOX. The team’s medical staff had Winston try out several varieties of pads that would protect that lower back region, but it seems that any measures or precautions are just targeting pain management at this point in time.

While the staff is doing all they can to protect Winston’s health, the offensive line seems to have other ideas. The Saints have rolled with a starting five of James Hurst, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, and Ryan Ramczyk in the first two games of the season. Despite getting sacked four times and hit eight times, Winston was able to deliver a close win in Week 1 throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Winston continued to get bombarded by an even tougher Buccaneers defense this week, taking on six sacks and getting hit nine times. The result was far less positive in the loss as Winston could only throw for 236 yards with just one touchdown to three interceptions.

Winston is showing he is a tough, strong football player, but if the Saints have any hopes of keeping the injury-riddled 28-year-old on the field all year, they are going to need significant improvements up front. If the offensive line can’t wait for players like rookie first-round pick Trevor Penning or former Chargers starter Forrest Lamp to come off injured reserve, they may need to figure out a way to scheme protection for their beleaguered quarterback from other positions.

Perhaps getting targets like running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith back on the field will help Winston get the ball out of his hands quick enough to avoid so much trauma. Both practiced a bit this week but were forced to sit out the game against Tampa Bay. Getting the offense around Winston healthy may be the key to keeping the ailing quarterback off the sideline for the season.

Jameis Winston To Play In Saints’ Preseason Finale

Jameis Winston has slowly been making progress towards a return to game action. That process will reach another crucial milestone tonight, as he is expected to play “in some capacity” during tonight’s preseason finale against the Chargers (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). 

Winston was elevated to the No. 1 role as Drew Brees‘ successor last season, and had an encouraging start to his return as starting quarterback. He won five of his seven starts, throwing 14 touchdowns, three interceptions and posting a passer rating of 102.8. A torn ACL ended his season, however, and derailed the Saints’ offense.

After New Orleans struck out on trading for Deshaun Watson, they turned back to the former No. 1 pick on a two-year deal. Since then, his rehab has been one of the team’s key offseason storylines. During OTAs, it was reported that a return to full health in time for Week 1 was the goal for all parties involved; today’s news would certainly represent another sign of progress that that could happen.

Most recently, the 28-year-old was seen practicing without a knee brace, something which will be noteworthy in the context of his mobility during tonight’s game. He is unlikely to see much playing time, but any snaps in live action will of course be a welcomed sight for the team and an important measuring stick with respect to his regular season readiness.

Come September, Winston will have a healthy Michael Thomas available at the top of a WR depth chart which also includes first-round rookie Chris Olave and free agent signing Jarvis Landry. That quartet should give the Saints significant upside on offense, presuming Winston is able to finalize his rehab in time.

Latest On Saints QB Jameis Winston

It looks like Jameis Winston has taken a major step in his recovery from a knee injury. The Saints quarterback posted a video on Instagram that showed him practicing without a brace.

When Winston was participating in Saints minicamp, he was often seen wearing a brace on his surgically repaired knee, and reports indicated he was walking with a notable limp. Now, about eight months after tearing his ACL and damaging his MCL, the QB appeared to be practicing without any restrictions. Winston previously stated a desire to continue wearing a brace even once he’s fully cleared to practice, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll stick with that plan.

Winston and the Saints have continually expressed optimism that the QB will be ready to go come Week 1 of the 2020 campaign. However, Winston also cautioned that he’ll still prioritize his long-term health as he looks to make his return.

“We’re taking this process slowly,” Winston said earlier this offseason (via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com). “It’s about getting better every day. I’m embracing it, and I’m excited to be able to talk football and just keep progressing.”

The former first-overall pick was having a bounceback season while replacing Drew Brees in New Orleans. He went 5-2 as a starter, completing 59 percent of his passes for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three interceptions. A Week 8 knee injury ended his season prematurely, but the Saints were still willing to commit to the QB this offseason. New Orleans ended up re-signing the injured free agent to a two-year, $28MM deal, and while he sits atop the depth chart, he’ll see some competition for the starting gig from veteran Andy Dalton.

Latest On Jameis Winston’s Commitment To New Orleans, Knee Injury

Jameis Winston isn’t one of the many new faces on New Orleans’ offense, but his absence from the team midway through 2021 will make him seem, in a sense, like a new arrival this fall. He spoke recently about his decision to re-sign with the Saints, which was made within the context of a number of other factors, including his season-ending knee injury. 

When asked about his commitment to stay in New Orleans (despite his injury and the departure of head coach Sean Payton), the 28-year-old said, via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer“I always had faith in my ability to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league… I’m just an optimistic guy, and I played a season where I felt like I improved on some of the areas that I had a lot of doubt in, and I was confident with that. I wish I could’ve finished with this team, with where things were trending.”

The Saints were 5-2 when Winston went down, hampering the team’s offense and ending a campaign in which he put up a 14:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Having failed to land Deshaun Watson this offseason, though, they quickly re-signed him to a two-year deal. That leaves him as the undisputed starter for the first time in New Orleans, as the team searches for a long-term Drew Brees replacement. He will re-take his place as the No. 1 with a receiving corps now featuring a healthy Michael Thomas, recent signing Jarvis Landry and first-rounder Chris Olave

Much of Winston’s success will depend, of course, on his recovery from knee surgery. Breer notes that he is still targeting training camp as the point at which he will be “full go”. That is in line with the reporting on the matter when OTAs began last week.

However, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio details, Winston is still moving with a “visible limp” at this point. While it is true that his ramp-up to full motion is in the early stages, and that much can change between now and mid-July, that news should at least be reason for pause with respect to the team’s optimism he will be fully recovered in time for the start of the season. Winston made it public he intends to continue wearing a brace on the injured knee throughout the campaign, but there is apparently a long way for him to go if he is to resume his level of play from 2021.

Latest On Jameis Winston

The Saints’ offense will look much different at the beginning of the 2022 season than it did at the end of last year’s campaign. One of the most important of those differences is the expected return of a healthy Jameis Winston in time for the start of the year. 

The 28-year-old has been in attendance at New Orleans’ OTAs this week, as noted by the Athletic’s Katherine Terrell (subscription required). The primary reason for doing so, of course, is to continue his ongoing rehab from the knee injury which ended his season in October.

The progress he has made on that front led to optimism that he would be available to start Week 1 this season. Winston himself has maintained that he would be back on the field before training camp, which he has now been able to do. His presence has been marked by incremental improvements in mobility.

“The biggest thing about my specific injury was the meniscus’ he said, noting that the ACL and MCL repair “was a pretty simple procedure. But the meniscus repair has been the biggest limiter for me right now, in terms of moving, rolling out, in terms of certain movements that I’m not able to do just because of the timetable of the recovery.”

Winston is currently wearing a brace which, Terrell reports, he intends to continue using throughout the season. If he continues progressing as he has so far, he should be in line for his first season as the undisputed No.1 QB for the Saints, which will open the door to a resumption of his relatively impressive play at the start of last year. Doing so would become easier, of course, if the team also gets receiver Michael Thomas back from injury, which they expect to take place by training camp. Overall, Winston’s current status could point to a marked improvement in the team’s passing game relative to last season’s performance.

Saints Envision Jameis Winston Starting Week 1

The Saints were one of the finalists to acquire Deshaun Watson, but they ultimately brought back a familiar face to be their starting quarterback for the immediate future. Jameis Winston is recovering from a torn ACL, but new head coach Dennis Allen plans on him being healthy to start the 2022 season. 

When speaking on the Rich Eisen Show, Allen was asked about Winston’s recovery (video link). “I think he’s doing well in the rehab process” he said, adding that “he’s working his tail off and really doing a really good job in the rehab and I like where he’s at”. That would point to the 28-year-old being ready for the fall, as was reported in March.

When asked if Winston was, as of now, seen as the Week 1 starter, Allen answered, “well… that’s certainly the plan. There’s a lot of days between now and Week 1, but we certainly like where he’s at right now. We like the progress that he’s making… My vision and my hope is that he continues to progress on the same level as he gets another year in the system.”

After a turnover-filled tenure with the Buccaneers, the former No. 1 pick headed to New Orleans as Drew Brees‘ backup. His level of play as the starter last season, though – 1,170 yards, 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions in seven games prior to the injury – earned him a two-year extension. The team also signed veteran Andy Dalton as his backup, and declined to add a developmental signal-caller during the draft.

That leaves Winston as the No. 1 heading into a season which, the Saints hope, can see significant improvement in the passing game. A healthy Michael Thomasfirst-round receiver Chris Olave and, of course, a fully recovered Winston would go a long way to accomplishing that goal.

Saints Willing To Move Up Or Down In First Round

The middle and later stages of tonight’s first round are expected to house most of the trade action which could take place. That makes the Saints one of the most important teams to watch. It comes as little surprise, then, that New Orleans has been calling other teams regarding moves up and down the board (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). 

After their deal with the Eagles, the Saints own the 16th and 19th overall picks. That likely puts them in range of some – if not all – of the top quarterbacks in the class. If the team does elect to add a signal-caller, it appears their preference would be either Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral. With that said, the team has already re-signed Jameis Winston and added veteran backup Andy Dalton, leading some to believe other positions could be of greater concern to them.

The two positions most referenced along those lines are offensive tackle and wide receiver. In need of a Terron Armstead replacement, Trevor Penning will likely be the top blocker still available at 16, so a move up to select a top-tier option like Charles Cross wouldn’t come as a surprise. Likewise, the team would, in all likelihood, need to move into the top 10 (or thereabouts) to be in range of wideouts such as Drake London, Jameson Williams and Garrett Wilson as they look to boost last year’s passing game.

If the top options at those positions are off the board by the middle of the round, though, a trade down would become a possibility. The strength of this class is said to be truly seen on Day 2; especially if the team chooses not to add a quarterback, then, and a run on the position occurs in the 20s, moving down could become mutually beneficial for the Saints and a QB-hungry team.

Like all Day 1 trades, the ultimate decisions teams make will become known in a matter of hours. Depending on how the top of the board shakes out, New Orleans could become one of the most active teams, and therefore one worth keeping an eye on.

Saints QB Jameis Winston Should Be Healthy For Training Camp

If things go as planned, Jameis Winston should be good to go for Saints training camp. Winston should be fully recovered from his torn ACL by the time training camp rolls around “if everything continues to go smoothly with his rehab,” a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Winston tore his ACL in late October, sidelining him for the rest of the 2021 season. Prior to that, Winston was playing some of the most efficient football of his career. While he was completing only 59 percent of his passes, the QB tossed 14 touchdowns vs. only three interceptions. The Saints also went 5-2 in Winston’s seven starts.

We learned yesterday that the Saints were giving the former No. 1 overall pick a two-year deal worth $28MM, including $21MM guaranteed. The Saints were connected to Winston before and after the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, and with the QB carousel starting to slow down, the Saints decided to commit to their initial 2021 starter.

The former high-variance Bucs starter will face an interesting transition this year, with Sean Payton having retired. The team is retaining longtime OC Pete Carmichael, who is in line to call plays post-Payton. Assuming Winston is good to go for next season, the quarterback should slide atop the depth chart ahead of Taysom Hill, Ian Book, and Blake Bortles.

Contract Details: Winston, Ward, Fournette, Conklin, Jones, Jewell, Vander Esch

Here are the latest details from recently agreed-upon contracts around the NFL:

  • Charvarius Ward, CB (49ers): Three years, $40.5MM. Of Ward’s $26.7MM in guarantees, $12MM comes via a signing bonus, Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus tweets. The 49ers will keep Ward’s initial cap hit low, with his 2022 figure checking in at $3.8MM. That spikes to $16.3MM in 2023. Two void years are included in Ward’s deal, giving the 49ers a cap charge of $4.81MM in 2025.
  • Jameis Winston, QB (Saints): Two years, $28MM. Winston received a $14MM signing bonus and has a $1.2MM fully guaranteed 2022 base salary, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. $5.8MM of Winston’s $12.8MM 2023 base salary is presently guaranteed for injury; it will become fully guaranteed on Day 3 of the 2023 league year. Winston can earn up to $16MM in incentives, $8MM in each year, through team accomplishments — as long as Winston is the Saints’ primary starter — and participation rate.
  • Leonard Fournette, RB (Buccaneers): Three years, $21MM. Along with a $4.5MM signing bonus, the Bucs fully guaranteed Fournette’s 2022 base salary ($2MM) and $2MM of his $6.5MM 2023 base, Florio notes. Another $2MM of that amount turns from an injury guarantee to a full guarantee next year. Fournette’s $6.5MM 2024 base is nonguaranteed. Among the deal’s $1.5MM in incentives, which only cover 2023 and 2024, Fournette can collect $250K for finishing a season in the top 15 in rushing yards and $500K for a top-10 rushing finish.
  • Tyler Conklin, TE (Jets): Three years, $20.25MM. The Jets are guaranteeing Conklin $10MM, including $3.9MM of his 2023 base salary. Conklin’s cap hits go $3.4MM, $8.4MM, $8.4MM from 2022-24, Spielberger tweets.
  • Ben Jones, C (Titans): Two years, $14MM. Jones will see $8MM guaranteed, which comes via $6.88MM signing bonus and a guaranteed $1.12MM 2022 base salary, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Jones’ deal includes a $1MM roster bonus due on Day 5 of the 2023 league year. His 2023 base salary comes in at $5MM.
  • Josey Jewell, LB (Broncos): Two years, $11MM. The Broncos guaranteed Jewell $6MM, which is present through a $4MM signing bonus and a $1.5MM 2022 base salary, Wilson tweets. His nonguaranteed 2023 base comes in at $4.49MM. An additional $1MM in incentives are also available for the four-year veteran.
  • Leighton Vander Esch, LB (Cowboys): One year, $2MM. The Cowboys are guaranteeing $1.75MM and included an additional $1MM in playing-time incentives, Ari Meirov of PFF tweets.

Saints, Jameis Winston Finalizing Deal

Quarterback dominoes are falling Monday. After missing out on Deshaun Watson, the Saints are moving back to a familiar face. Jameis Winston is close to an agreement to return to New Orleans, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

Despite his midseason ACL tear, Winston will do well for himself. The Saints are giving the former No. 1 overall pick a two-year deal worth $28MM, Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com add (via Twitter). That is the base value, with $21MM set to be guaranteed. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the deal includes $15.2MM in guaranteed money.

The Saints had discussed a deal with Winston before becoming full-fledged finalists for Watson. Winston remained on the team’s radar as a fallback option, though the ex-Buccaneers starter said he talked with the Colts as well. Indianapolis has since traded for Matt Ryan, filling its latest QB1 vacancy. This stands to be Winston’s third deal with the Saints, who re-signed him to a one-year, $5.5MM pact in 2021.

Although Michael Thomas‘ season-long absence reduced the Saints’ receiving corps to arguably the NFL’s worst, Winston still was at 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions when he went down in New Orleans’ seventh game. The Saints were 5-2 in Winston’s starts but 4-6 without him. The team is also expected to abandon its multiyear Taysom Hill-at-quarterback experiment, clearing the runway for Winston to avoid a competition with the high-profile gadget player.

Winston, 28, came to New Orleans as Drew Brees‘ backup in 2020, replacing Teddy Bridgewater in that role. The former high-variance Bucs starter will face an interesting transition this year, with Sean Payton having retired. The team is retaining longtime OC Pete Carmichael, who is in line to call plays post-Payton. The Saints will not be devoting much money to their starting quarterback, but missing out on Watson still leaves the team without a true long-term signal-caller option. Winston will try to fill that void.