As the Indianapolis Colts continue to explore trade options at quarterback, general manager Chris Ballard has also been examining the free agent options behind center.
One of those possibilities is former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston.
Sports journalist Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported Winston has engaged in conversations with two different teams — the New Orleans Saints, who he played with last year, and the Colts.
Anderson tweeted that one of Winston’s top priorities is finding a place where he can start.
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Colts Showing Interest in Jameis Winston
If Winston was Indianapolis’ first choice, Ballard would have probably already offered him a contract. But Jimmy Garoppolo and other quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield may be available for Indianapolis through a trade this offseason.
Winston, though, is one of the better quarterback options in free agency. Last season with the Saints, Winston recorded 1,170 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games. He posted a 5-2 record before suffering a torn ACL and damage to his MCL in his left leg.
The 28-year-old quarterback has spent the last two seasons with the Saints. He served as the backup signal caller in New Orleans during Drew Brees’ final season in 2020.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Winston first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. He threw for 7.7 yards per pass in five seasons with the Buccaneers, but Winston struggled with turnovers, registering 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions from 2015-19.
During his final season with the Buccaneers, Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards while also posting a league-high 30 interceptions.
Winston owns a 33-44 record as an NFL starting quarterback.
Colts Searching for Starting Quarterback
Winston indicated to Anderson that the Saints have made a contract offer, but if Winston is set on starting, it didn’t make sense for him to agree to a deal until Deshaun Watson was traded.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on the morning of March 18 that the Saints and Falcons were the two remaining teams interested in trading for Watson. Based on Winston’s desire to start, if New Orleans won the Watson sweepstakes, then the Saints would no longer be an option for Winston.
However, Rapoport reported at about 3:45 pm on March 18 that Watson has decided to go to the Cleveland Browns.
Therefore, it will remain a two-team race for Winston. But, with Watson going to Cleveland, the Colts may become interested in trading for Baker Mayfield.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported the Browns initially declined to fulfill Mayfield’s request. Now a day later, Cleveland will acquire Watson, and Mayfield will presumably enter the trade market.
With Watson deciding to go to Cleveland, more quarterback dominos are likely to follow soon. Indianapolis will be in the middle of it all, as the organization weighs its options in the trade market and free agency.