The New Orleans Saints selected a quarterback (Tommy Stevens out of Mississippi State) in the NFL draft but that won’t stop them from adding a potential long-term starter in free agency.
The franchise has signed Jameis Winston to a one-year deal. The pact carries a base value of just $1.1 million and a signing bonus of just $148,000, ESPN’s Field Yates reports. The deal includes $3.4 million in available incentives, including regular season playing time and playoff playing time bonuses.
Winston won’t be guaranteed the back-up QB spot immediately, as Taysom Hill is still in the fold.
Winston, who is just 26-year-old, will be given a shot to be Drew Brees’ successor, however, that’s no guarantee. Brees is expected to retire by 2021 and take a cushy NBC Sports analyst gig.
Winston has remained patient as he looks for a landing spot after his Bucs career didn’t pan out. He is hopeful that he can turn the one-year pact into a multi-year stint under Sean Payton.
Saints Extend Taysom Hill
More business out of New Orleans. The Saints have agreed to a two-year extension with Hill, which is worth $21 million.
Hill will be given a chance to be the long-term starter in New Orleans as well, so it sounds like there will be a bit of healthy competition for the next starting QB in New Orleans.
The presence of Winston will allow the Saints to use Hill in gadget-type plays as they have for the past few seasons. If he were the only veteran QB on the roster, perhaps the team would be more careful not to put Hill in situations where the risk of injury is higher, such as reverses, trick-plays, and even special teams.
Other Teams Missing Out on Winston
Several other teams could have used the services of Winston, though this has been a strange offseason in terms of QB movement and franchises sticking with interesting options at the position.
Take the Patriots, for instance, the don’t have anyone on the roster who has Winston’s talent (they didn’t draft any QBs either) and surely, Bill Belicheck could get the most out of Winston.
The Redskins are another team that would have been much better with Winston in the fold. There were conflicting reports of the team’s interest in the former No. 1 overall pick during the offseason. The team will enter the 2020 campaign with Dwayne Haskins at the helm, though he doesn’t have the kind of job security that other top picks in the 2019 draft (like Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones) have.
Some expected Ohio State’s Haskins to be selected before the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 draft, so the selection was seen as a low-risk win by the Redskins. However, Haskins’ first season in Washington wasn’t anything special. The raw stats can tell you that the season was meh. Seven touchdowns with seven interceptions; 56.8 completion percentage; 6.7 Yards/attempt.
Winston has had off the field issues and this could certainly play a role in Washington opting not sign him. It’s also possible that Winston is simply better than Haskins and has more upside than him but by not enough to make Washington give up on Haskins’ potential growth (or owner Daniel Synder really wants to see Haskins, who is from Maryland, succeed without a real threat to take over his job).
Teams know what Winston is. He’s talented but he’s not a tier-1 franchise, like Brees, Prime Tom Brady, or current day Patrick Mahomes. He could be a Pro Bowler in the right environment and New Orleans just might be that… if he sticks around long-term.
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