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Playing Out Options to Replace Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL on Sunday. How will the Saints replace him?

There's really no way to sugarcoat it, losing Jameis Winston sucks. The Saints were bracing for the worst, as Sean Payton revealed that the injury was significant on Sunday during his post game press conference. On Monday morning, we got confirmation that Winston suffered a torn ACL and also had damage to his MCL. He's now out for the year.

Winston had worked so hard to become the Saints starting quarterback, and his path to get there was somewhat humbling by sitting on the bench to learn behind Drew Brees for an entire season after being a 5-year starter in Tampa. Although Taysom Hill challenged, it was Winston's job, and he delivered.

So, now the 5-2 Saints have 10 more games on their season schedule to figure it out and make it work. What direction could the team go in without Jameis Winston? We look at several areas, and how realistic they may be.

Staying In-House

This seems like the likeliest option going forward, but what we have to pay close attention to is the availability of Taysom Hill. He hasn't practiced since being knocked out of the Week 5 game against Washington, and it sounds like the Saints want to keep him in his role that he's been doing. While this is not set in stone, the reality is if the Falcons game were tomorrow, Trevor Siemian would start and rookie Ian Book would be the backup.

If the defense can continue powering the Saints to wins, then that could help take some pressure off whoever is playing quarterback. Getting Mark Ingram back via trade was a huge boost, and the Boom and Zoom combo can lean on that offensive line to get things going.

When Sean Payton was asked on Monday afternoon about his situation, he simply said, "We're satisfied with the quarterback room."

Despite suggestions, Cam Newton does not appear to be in the Saints plan

Despite suggestions, Cam Newton does not appear to be in the Saints plan

Checking the Market

Cam Newton's name was floated out there immediately and suggested as a potential addition, but as quickly as those came up, they were shot down on Monday morning. It would be tough seeing Newton being added to the active roster, or any new quarterback for that matter. Perhaps the Saints could swing one of them on the practice squad and start the preparation process. However, the market is pretty dry on appealing options after Newton, so unless you're okay with rolling in Blake Bortles or Robert Griffin III to be your starter, then you probably have your answer.

You can also look at team's practice squads, but that would involve poaching them and keeping them for at least three weeks. The Saints have done this before, but is anyone really worth stealing right now? It's been ages since New Orleans had Ryan Griffin, as he's on the Bucs practice squad. Remember that Siemian originally joined the Saints active roster after being on the Titans practice squad in 2020. He ended up being a pretty good reserve/future add in the offseason.

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Trade Options

The Saints should still be a shopper ahead of the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, but likely more on the wide receiver front. The biggest name out there is obviously Deshaun Watson, but it appears that the Texans will be holding onto him. Plus, there's that whole legal issue surrounding him that has to be sorted out. 

Nick Foles would be an interesting name to call on, as it looks to be the Justin Fields show for the Bears foreseeable future. However, there are some deeper salary cap implications in acquiring Foles, and Andy Dalton could be the easier target at $2.5 million. Tua Tagovailoa would be another name to consider, but that likely hinged on if the Dolphins got Watson. If you really wanted to get weird, how about looking into Teddy Bridgewater and getting him from the Broncos?

There's big questions when asking about a trade for the Saints. For starters, is this player going to be better than what you have? Also, how long of a learning curve is a new quarterback you bring in going to have after trading for him? Finally, what type of draft capital are you having to shell out to make it happen?

Erik McCoy and Drew Brees

Drew Brees seems content staying at NBC.

Reunion Talk

Drew Brees seems very content with his decision to walk away from football. Although he joked during the halftime segment on Sunday Night Football that he was checking his phone after Mike Tirico questioned him, his response in shooting down the idea centered around him fulfilling his responsibilities as a broadcaster at NBC.

To be specific, Brees said, "I'll be there Saturday to call the Notre Dame-Navy game, and I'll be here Sunday."

It would be wild to see it even become a thing, and then you would have to question how effective Brees could be not exactly living and breathing football 24/7 to prepare. That type of return is something only Hollywood would script. It would be really hard to expect it.

We'll get some big answers after tomorrow's trade deadline, as it's set for 3 p.m. CT. All eyes will also turn to Wednesday's injury report to see if Taysom Hill is back in the mix. Payton was asked about his status, to which he said, "He's doing well. He's progressing. He's on schedule." 


Bucs-Saints Post Game Coverage