The New Orleans Saints will likely have a new starting quarterback come next season. Following the team’s defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round of the playoffs, word began to circulate that Drew Brees had probably played his last game.
If Brees does ultimately call it quits the way everyone expects him to, the Saints will obviously need someone else to take the reigns on offense.
Will that someone be free agent Jameis Winston?
On Wednesday, Saints head coach Sean Payton appeared on the NFL Network’s ‘Good Morning Football’ and offered some insight on the organization’s future plans.
“A lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent,” he said. “But him, along with Taysom Hill who’s in the building, we’ve said it all along — we’re going to develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”
In a separate appearance on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show, Payton also reiterated his appreciation for what Winston brought to the table.
“Jameis Winston, we know,” he said. “We had a year with him. He was fantastic as a leader. He’s got tremendous arm talent. He’s a young prospect that we like a lot.
“When you have a player for a season, he’s kind of giving you a chance to see what he’s about, and there’s a little bit of an audition there. But the same audition takes place for us. He’s getting a chance to see, ‘Hey, this is how they do it here. Does this fit me? Does this head coach, this position coach? Is this a place I feel comfortable playing?'”
Patrick Mahomes’ lame brother tried to steal someone’s girlfriend and learned a valuable lesson in the process.https://t.co/OK7Nh5SMdR
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 28, 2021
While Winston didn’t get a ton of playing time with New Orleans, he made the most of his opportunity and seemingly really ingratiated himself with his teammates. When Brees went down with an injury and Hill got the nod to start, there was a small mutiny of Winston supporters who believed he should be the starter.
Over the course of his limited playing time this past season Winston went 7-of-11 for 75 yards, no touchdowns or turnovers, and a rating of 83.5.
Now we know what motivates Gronk to play so hard. https://t.co/xFnKnjoXQ4
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2021
During his five prior years in the NFL, all with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winston went 28-42 and amassed 9,737 yards, 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions while completing just over 61 percent of his passes. At one point, some tried to make the case that he was better than Tom Brady.
Should the Saints pursue a long-term relationship with Winston, as Payton is seemingly indicating they will, it will be interesting to see how he evolves as a quarterback under his new head coach’s tutelage.