Will Jameis Winston stay in the Big Easy?
By: Jake Rajala
The big arm, humble, 27-year-old quarterback Jameis Winston took the New Orleans Saints to a 5-2 record in 2021 before tearing his ACL in Week 7. It’s disappointing that Winston had a brutal exit after several games, but there are positives to reflect on with the former Buccaneers and Saints starting QB.
The Saints QB that signed to be Drew Brees’s apprentice in 2020 has seen impressive personal growth on and off the field. Winston took the reigns from Brees and showed strong leadership and control of the locker room. Most importantly, the once turnover machine revolted into a sharp signal-caller with big play-making potential.
Here is an overview of Winston’s 2021 stats
*according to Pro Football Reference
- Passer rating of 102.8 (career-best)
- 14 passing touchdowns in 7 games
- 1.9% Int percentage (career-best)
It’s well documented that Winston has been a stud in a Saints uniform. Sean Payton has cleaned up Winston’s mistakes and he’s inserted him an offense that has the elite Alvin Kamara and was once healthy upfront.
With that being said, Winston is set to become a free agent in the 2022 offseason. It’s not clear if Payton wants to keep Winston and if the two sides can agree on a deal that makes sense for the Saints, but can also please the improved QB. There have also been numerous reports linking Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Aaron Rodgers to the Saints. So, what will the Saints do at the QB spot this offseason, and will Winston be a part of their plans?
Let’s go under the microscope and see if Winston will remain a Saint or if he will find the next chapter of his journey elsewhere.
- Denver Broncos
The Von Miller less Denver Broncos would be a very ideal landing spot for Jameis Winston. For one, the Broncos surely don’t have a long-term answer at the QB position. Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock have been caught with the injury bug or bench warmer job. The Broncos currently hold the third-most cap space in the league and would easily have the resources to reel in the free-agent QB.
The 7-8 AFC West squad has been surprisingly competitive with a putrid QB showing this season. If they insert the 27-year-old QB who can utilize Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, they might be an AFC contender for the next decade. Winston is also a much better QB option than any option in the draft for the AFC West team looking at a mid-first-round pick.
- Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions might have the audacity to win a bidding war for Winston. Dan Campbell (former assistant Saints coach) has strong ties to his former colleague Sean Payton and he may believe that the Saints QB would be a great signing over a rookie QB in the current predicament. The Lions situation at WR and OL is nerve-wracking for a rookie QB, but a QB experienced with “making a lot out of a little” may be able to translate in a modest way early on for Detroit. It doesn’t appear that vengeful Jared Goff will be the franchise QB in the Motor City. Expect DET to try and take a big jump with their roster this offseason without breaking the bank for a rookie QB.
- New Orleans Saints
I don’t foresee the Saints signing Winston to a long-term deal, but it would make a lot of sense for the two sides to agree on a short-term contract. Winston showed that he has a lot of upside in the seven games for the Saints, plus he has a lot more years left than the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson (33 years old). Winston could have the keys for 1-2 years and show how much damage he can oust on defenses for the length of the season. If the Saints elect to sign Winston over sending the house for Wilson in a trade, they will be able to keep more upcoming key free agents. Players like Marcus Williams, Marcus Davenport, Ceedy Duce, and Terron Armstead will be big free-agent decisions for the wizard Mickey Loomis.