When it comes to the New England Patriots‘ starting quarterback in 2021, there are a few possibilities. Cam Newton could return (hold the applause), Jarrett Stidham could be elevated (again, hold the applause), there’s the whole Matthew Stafford trade possibility, and a few others. In the event Jameis Winston wasn’t on your shortlist of possibilities, you might want to add the former No. 1 overall pick.
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B/R Gridiron Calls the Patriots, Winston’s First Potential Suitor
In the Instagram post below, B/R Gridiron identifies the New England Patriots as the first of Winston’s potential suitors. The Washington Football Team, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, and returning to the New Orleans Saints are the other options.
All of those potential landing spots make sense, but let’s take a look at each situation to gauge the fit for Winston.
Returning to the Saints
The situation with the Saints is a tough one to figure out. It appeared Winston was next in line to pick up where Drew Brees is reportedly leaving off with his retirement from the NFL. However, during the season, when Brees was injured, the Saints turned to gadget-QB Tayson Hill over Winston.
It’s unclear how that will sit with Winston if he has multiple offers to consider, but he did spend a year in the Saints system working with Sean Payton, and that figures to be worth something. He was only allowed to throw 11 passes in 2020 and he completed 7 of them for 75 yards and he didn’t throw a pick, which had been a problem for him in the past.
You would think the Saints would be open to Winston returning, but in what capacity? If Winston is being guaranteed a starting spot from another team but is being told he’ll have to compete with Hill in New Orleans for the QB1 spot in New Orleans, he might be more apt to leave.
The Washington Football Team
It would appear the Washington Football Team is a legit quarterback away from taking control of the NFC East. They won the division in 2020, but could really separate themselves if they find the right QB.
Is Winston that guy? Perhaps, but prior to 2020, Winston did gain the reputation as a guy with off-the-field issues. He’s seemingly matured, but with the WFT recently parting ways with Dwayne Haskins for immaturity, low-performance, and unprofessional antics, you wonder if they would steer clear of a player with a history of potentially distracting behavior.
Perhaps that’s why someone like Newton appears to be a more likely fit in Washington. He’s a mature veteran and it would also be a reunion of sorts. Newton would be reunited with some of his former coaches like Ron Rivera from their days with the Carolina Panthers.
After what we saw toward the end of the 2020 season and in the postseason, it’s pretty clear, the Steelers need to move on from Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh will draft too late in the first round (24th) to grab one of the top prospects, and thus they could be looking for a younger QB like Winston who can still be the future of the franchise while allowing them to remain in contention.
The Steelers have a player’s coach in Mike Tomlin, a nice young offensive weapon in Chase Claypool, and a stout defense. It could be an attractive spot for Winston to land.
With general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy coming back in 2021, you’d have to believe the leash will be short on this regime. They likely narrowly escaped a cleaning of house by making the postseason in 2020.
That said, they probably don’t have a lot of time to wait on a young QB to develop. The Bears will want to try to win now with a defense that is good enough to win if it had a more effective offense.
Stafford would seem like an obvious possibility, but Winston would also be a good option. As I’ve mentioned, he has matured and if the year with Payton and Brees has helped his accuracy and decision-making on the field, he could be the answer for Chicago.
New England Patriots
There was a time when the Patriots and Winston might have seemed like the two least-likely components to mix. However, in 2021, with New England perhaps on the prowl for a young QB, and the 2015 No. 1 pick looking for a fresh start, it could work. Remember, Winston just turned 27 this month.
He has the arm talent to provide Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with an unrestricted set of plays to call. Winston would need to protect the ball and limit the risky throws, but there is no reason he couldn’t be successful in New England at this stage of his career.
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