Jameis Winston

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.

Saints’ QB Options After Missing Out On Watson

With the news that Deshaun Watson will be acquired by the Browns, the Saints are back to where they were a week ago. Not content to enter the 2022 NFL season with only Ian Book and Taysom Hill on the roster at quarterback, New Orleans continues to evaluate the options available on the market.

The best option may be the simplest: free agent Jameis Winston has kept New Orleans in his sights while shopping out his talents. Winston was a locker room favorite for the Saints last year, seeing some success as their starter before tearing his ACL seven games into the season. Winston recently entered into discussions with the Colts, but he already has an offer on the table from the Saints. Thoughts were that the offer may be contingent on whether or not Watson found his way to New Orleans, but, with that out of play, the Saints would be more than happy to bring Winston back. Teddy Bridgewater was also a free agent option for a reunion before he signed with Dolphins earlier this week.

The Saints could also look towards the trade market for a new starting quarterback. The 49ers have widely let it be known that Jimmy Garoppolo is available. Garoppolo has put up solid numbers throughout his career while racking up wins with the Patriots and Niners. The Browns are now much more likely to honor Baker Mayfield‘s trade request after bringing Watson in. Mayfield famously replaced the zeroes in Cleveland’s win column and ended the longest playoff drought in NFL history. If New Orleans is more interested in a short-term replacement, they could make a move for Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. The former-MVP was clearly thought of as expendable as the Falcons went all in during the Watson sweepstakes.

So whether the Saints go through free agency or the trade market, there are still some starting-caliber options they can pursue. Right now, their future at the position likely hinges on Winston’s decision. If Winston decides to sign elsewhere, New Orleans will need to react fast to explore these other options.

Colts, Jameis Winston Discussing Deal; Saints Still On Radar

With three fourths of the NFC South pursuing Deshaun Watson, the quarterback market has hit a bit of a standstill. The Saints still loom as an option for Jameis Winston, but a Watson trade obviously nixes that path. Winston may act before Watson, complicating New Orleans’ QB path.

The Colts have engaged in discussions with Winston, Josina Anderson of USA Today reports (on Twitter). This makes sense, given Indianapolis’ sudden need, but Winston said the Saints have already made him an offer. Saints GM Mickey Loomis said earlier this month a Winston return was in play, though the team’s proposal may be contingent on Watson choosing the Falcons or Panthers.

[RELATED: Saints, Watson Meet Again]

Further complicating the QB market is Baker Mayfield, who has been connected to the Colts. The Browns, who have a bit of an issue on their hands now after making an unsuccessful push for Watson and irking their incumbent starter, have not indicated they will grant Mayfield’s trade request.

The No. 1 overall pick three years before Mayfield, Winston has spent the past two years with the Saints. He suffered a torn ACL midway through the season, leading to the Saints starting four QBs during the campaign. Winston, 28, threw 14 touchdown passes compared to just three interceptions, despite New Orleans’ bottom-tier pass-catching crew. That works in his favor, while the ACL tear stands to limit his market. Winston, who told Anderson he is uninterested in signing anywhere to be a backup, signed a one-year deal worth $5.5MM with the Saints last year.

Indianapolis will be set to start a different Week 1 quarterback for the sixth straight year, having traded Carson Wentz. That opened up a ton of cap space for the team but also created a noticeable void at the league’s premier position. Signing Winston would not be nearly as costly for the Colts, who lead the NFL in cap space.

QB Rumors: Trubisky, Winston, Taylor, Lock

The Giants’ new head coach, Brian Daboll, worked with free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when they were both with the Bills last year (Daboll as offensive coordinator). Well, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Daboll has interest in luring Trubisky to join him in New York.

There’s been some interest in bringing Trubisky to Pittsburgh, as well, where a path to starting is much more clear. If Daboll’s familiarity with the sixth-year quarterback is able to attract him to the Giants, though, the head coach sees the potential for him to mirror the results of Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. A quick refresher: Tannehill arrived in Nashville in 2019 in a trade with the Dolphins. Tannehill started the season in the role of back up quarterback to the incumbent starter Marcus Mariota. After a 2-4 start to the season, Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill, who went 7-3 for the rest of the year and led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Daboll holds hope that, while Daniel Jones may retain the starting job in New York, if the need presents itself, Trubisky could provide the same effect as Tannehill.

Some other notes concerning quarterbacks around the league:

  • Another option the Steelers could be looking into, Jameis Winston is looking like the most likely starting quarterback for the Saints in 2022, according to Graziano. With Teddy Bridgewater headed to free agency, a return to New Orleans could be possible, and Winston may see some opportunities in testing the free agent market, himself. But Winston is a locker room favorite that saw success on the Saints before tearing his ACL midseason last year.
  • Tyrod Taylor lost the starting job in Houston last year to rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Mills expected to return to the starting position next year, the Texans do have interest in bringing Taylor back in the role of back up quarterback, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Taylor has chased starting jobs throughout his career and has seen some success at times. He may search for a new opportunity to start, but, if not, Taylor has shown professionalism several times in back up roles mentoring young quarterbacks.
  • After receiving Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson-trade with the Broncos, Seattle is considering the elements to Lock’s lack of success in Denver, according to Fowler. Some believe that the revolving door of offensive coordinators contributed to his struggles. Seattle is analyzing whether they believe in Pete Carroll‘s ability to develop Lock, who showed glimpses of promise in his early appearances as a Bronco, or whether they need to make moves for Deshaun Watson to win now.