According to multiple sources Saturday night after first reported by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the New Orleans Saints are close to completing a contract with quarterback Jameis Winston. Specific terms of the contract are not known, but it is believed to be a one-year deal, where Winston would back up Drew Brees in 2020.
Jameis Winston was the first-overall pick of the 2015 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Florida State. Winston would start all 16 games as a rookie, going 6-10 while throwing for 4,042 yards with 22 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. He led Tampa Bay to a 9-7 record in 2016, completing over 60% of his passes for 4,090 yards with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards in 2019, throwing 33 touchdown passes but a league high 30 interceptions while going 7-9 as a starter. The 26-year-old Winston had a 28-42 record in his five seasons with the Buccaneers, completing 61.3% of his throws for 19,737 yards with 121 touchdowns but 88 interceptions.
Winston became a free agent after the 2019 season and became available after Tampa Bay signed former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He replaces Teddy Bridgewater as the backup to Brees after Bridgewater signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent. Winston is a big quarterback (6’4", 231 pounds) with a powerful arm and decent mobility. He has been a productive passer throughout his five years in the league but the major criticism of him has been his tendency to turn the ball over.
Winston gives the Saints a backup to Brees with starting experience, while allowing Taysom Hill to continue his versatile duties within the offense. New Orleans did not select a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2020 draft, though they did pick Tommy Stevens of Mississippi State in the seventh round. Winston could give himself the opportunity to replace Drew Brees, who could be entering his last season at 41 years old.
Winston comes to a Saints team that protects its passer well (Winston was sacked 169 times in 72 games) and will surround him with weapons like All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, tight end Jared Cook, productive running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, and newly signed receiver Emmanuel Sanders.