Following the retirement of Drew Brees, the Saints have some question marks at the position for the first time since 2005. Barring an unexpected move, Winston will compete with teammate Taysom Hill for the starting gig in 2021. Similar to Winston, Hill will also be playing the 2021 campaign on a one-year, $12M deal (despite the funky restructuring by the organization yesterday).
Winston, the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, joined the Saints last offseason following five underwhelming years in Tampa Bay. Winston got into four games during his first season in New Orleans, completing seven of his 11 pass attempts for 75 yards. He also came up key during the Saints’ postseason loss to the Buccaneers, completing his lone pass attempt for 56 yards and a score.
Hill actually got eight starts and 16 appearances for the Saints this past season, leading some to wonder whether he has the upper hand on the QB competition heading into the offseason. However, the team’s been nothing but complimentary of Winston since his arrival, noting his performance in practice and on the sideline, and it sounds like the former first-rounder will have an equal chance at the starting gig in 2021.
“We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis Winston,” coach Sean Payton said last month. “We didn’t have a normal offseason, but we had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader, and as an athlete. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team. That’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us.
“And, a lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent. 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.”