Jameis Winston is making headlines across the NFL for taking less money and a backup role with the New Orleans Saints, and is hoping that it pays off for him with the knowledge he'll gain in the quarterback room. The one-year deal that Winston signed comes with $1.1 million in base value with $3.4 million available through incentives. He started his Wednesday Zoom interview with the media on the right foot with a customary "Who Dat" before diving into what went into his decisions to play for the Saints.
"One thing about humility is, everyone needs to be humbled," Winston said.
"Everyone needs those humbling experiences. Throughout my entire life, I started from very humble beginnings. So it's another chapter in my life that I'm going to learn from and is going to make me better."
Winston said a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees and future Hall of Fame coach in Sean Payton made it appealing to join the Saints, and playing against them multiple times for the past five years obviously helped. Winston also had high opinions of the talented group he was joining, saying that it was easy knowing the quarterback room that he was going into.
"I love this game with all my heart," Winston said. "So, despite a lot of different things that come with this game like money and celebrity status, I think one thing Derrick Brooks taught me from my time with him at Florida State to now is that you got to respect the game, and the game will always be bigger than you and the game will always win."
Regarding his interactions with Drew Brees, Winston said there's only a few people in the league that will follow up when you reach out to them, and Brees is one of them. He first met Brees in 2006, saying that he was one of the first kid to get his autograph. He had also met him back in San Diego before that. Unfortunately, Winston lost that autographed photo from Brees on a bus some time later, but replacing it shouldn't be an issue.
"I just love the person he is, the guy he is," Winston said on Brees.
As far as expectations, Winston said he needs to be a great teammate and serve his team. For him, the most exciting thing he'll get to learn is how the quarterback room functions. He wants to know specifically how Sean Payton and the others approach the week, and wants to learn from everyone he can. Winston revealed that he had other offers for more money, but stressed the importance of latching on with New Orleans because of the career development it offers.
"It's one of the best opportunities for me to grow as a quarterback and professional in this league," Winston said.
Winston is going to approach every day like 'he's the guy', citing how Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill were both prepared last year when called upon, and he wants to be the same in 2020. In fact, he actually talked to Teddy Bridgewater about joining the Saints. Bridgewater spoke to Winston and said that he really loved the quarterback room, saying that it made him a better leader.
Winston is going to address every part of his game in 2020. Winston had a LASIK procedure done in February, but didn't attribute his turnovers to his vision. Ball security is a primary point of playing the quarterback position, as Winston said, but also getting it to his wide receivers to make plays is equally as important for him. He revealed some of the challenges from before, saying that blurriness and depth perception were benefits from having the surgery, as well as fixing an astigmatism. Winston described his vision like he getting hit by another person in a car and not being able to read their license plate as they drove off.
Saints Hall of Famer Willie Roaf also had LASIK for nearsightedness, and said it will only Jameis Winston a lot going forward.
"I'm trying to block guys, and it's a little blurry. I can only imagine him just trying to throw the ball down the field because it's blurry,” Roaf recently said on the Go4it podcast with Paul Gant.
“Now, as a quarterback, and you need LASIK surgery, and you're trying to throw the ball, to me, I don't understand how he played at the level he played at if you can't see.”
Jameis Winston said he's fully recovered from a knee scope this offseason, and jokingly said to check his personal Instagram to check out his workouts that back it up. Winston has also lost some weight from deciding to go vegan, which he's done for the past several months. It's changed his whole body, but he admits to reserving Saturdays for his cheat day.
Winston was asked about purchasing Wil Lutz's No. 3, which Lutz had some fun with by on Twitter. He says that he wants to wear No. 2 with New Orleans. Why? It's his favorite number. He mentioned that he was unable to get it at Florida State because of Deion Sanders, but also couldn't get it in high school. That number is currently held by 7th Round choice Tommy Stevens, and he'll probably get a few bucks for giving it to Winston.