Jameis Winston finalizes deal with Saints, expected to compete with Taysom Hill behind Drew Brees

With Tom Brady in his old job and no starting quarterback roles open, Jameis Winston has found a new home as a backup for Drew Brees for a season. Winston has finalized a contract with the New Orleans Saints, where he is expected to compete for the No. 2 quarterback job with Taysom Hill. 

The deal is for one year, and an “economical” offer since the Saints only have $5,041,522 in available cap space, per Over The Cap. Signing Winston doesn’t guarantee him the backup job in New Orleans, but it will give the Saints’ options going forward amid reports 2020 will be Drew Brees’ final season.

The signing would keep Winston in the NFC South after spending his first five years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the NFL with both 5,109 passing yards and 30 interceptions last season, as the Bucs finished 7-9 in Bruce Arians’ first season.

The Saints placed a first-round tender on Hill, who was a restricted free agent, earlier this offseason. Not only did that guarantee the. tight end/quarterback’s spot on the roster for 2020 (as he will make $4,641,000 this season), but it also opened up a path for him to become heir apparent to Brees.

The Saints will have more flexibility regarding their quarterback situation with Winston on the roster. Even if Winston loses the No. 2 quarterback job to Hill, he still can be the understudy to Brees and the Saints can still use Hill in a variety of ways on offense. Winston would have a role similar to Teddy Bridgewater had in New Orleans over the past two seasons. 

New Orleans has loaded up the quarterback room this offseason. In addition to Hill, the Saints drafted former Penn State and Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens in the seventh round of the 2020 draft. Stevens, who has a skill set similar to Hill’s, will compete for a roster spot and could be developed in a similar way the Saints used Hill the past few years. 

As for Winston, turnovers have plagued the 26-year-old throughout his five-year career in the NFL. He has 88 interceptions and 50 fumbles (losing 23) in 72 career games (111 total turnovers). Winston has completed 61.3% of his passes for 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns in his five seasons, posting an 86.9 rating as the Buccaneers went 28-42 in his 70 starts. Despite the turnover issues, Winston did make the Pro Bowl in 2015 and threw for over 4,000 yards in his first two seasons. 

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