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Why QB Jameis Winston’s Decision to Sign with the New Orleans Saints Makes No Sense

Ther was nowhere to go after Tom Brady came to Tampa Bay but was New Orleans back-up role the right move?

Drew Brees stayed unretired and Taysom Hill is set to make over $10 million annually. So, that begs the question. Why on earth did Jameis Winston decide to sign with the New Orleans Saints? It’s worth mentioning this is coming from someone that was pounding the table for Winston to sign with New Orleans. However, that was before Brees announced he was not retiring and Hill oddly became such an important piece to Sean Payton’s puzzle.

Look, I completely get signing there originally when the Taysom Hill contract negotiations had stalled. However, after the fact, once Hill agreed to his ridiculous contract, how did Winston not back out? Hill was signed to a two-year deal meanwhile, Jameis was signed to a one-year deal and no, he will not be the starter. If Winston wants a shot this season he will have to wait until something unfortunate happens to Brees. This could be Brees’ last year but even so, Winston decided to sign a one-year deal and so it won’t matter after this season. On top of that, the Saints either are smoke screening everyone or firmly believe that Hill can be a franchise quarterback. I know he does a lot of things well and is a valuable gimmick player but he’s literally thrown 13 passes in total in the NFL. That’s it, so I’m not here to discuss why or why that doesn’t or does make sense. I’m here to explain why Winston made a terrible mistake.

Former MVP QB Cam Newton finds himself in the free-agent pool Winston just got pulled out of. Here’s the thing, Newton knows what he is doing. First off, the coronavirus. Due to this virus, teams are doing everything digitally. So, Newton and Winston would unable to go and privately work out for a team or take a physical due to the nationwide quarantine. This is why it was smart for Newton to stay back. Right now, the NFL has all the leverage and so do the teams. Not the players, Newton knows that. Winston simply made a mistake signing right away with the Saints right after the draft. Here’s the thing, if there is football, there are injuries. Newton can hold out until one of the top quarterbacks goes down with an injury in camp (it happens just about every year) and in that case, he would have a ton of leverage. Winston should have gone this path instead of panicking and signing for a one-year deal. Sure, it’s a big what if? However, if it works out for Newton he’s going to look like a genius and have a starting role while Winston sits the bench potentially even behind Hill.

I am a firm believer in prove-it contracts and I see their value. However, when you are dealing with a quality starting-caliber player like Winston who plays quarterback and is going to maybe be the third-string signal-caller on the Saints. I do not see how this makes any sense. I get it, right now the NFL is in a weird situation where most teams actually have their quarterback of the future or of the next two years like the Jameis’ former Buccaneers team with Tom Brady. However, injuries happen, teams upset their quarterbacks (Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers potentially right now) and most importantly to sum it up things change. I just feel like the Winston signing was premature and made no sense to the young quarterback. Quite honestly, he should be in New England as a starter, he’s worth starting and while he turned the ball over a ton last year, go back and look at all the Bruce Arians quarterbacks in their first year under his coaching. They basically all led the league in interceptions. 

Another important reason why I don’t like this fit for Winston? Look at what happened to Teddy Bridgewater. The only reason the Saints were a playoff team was because of Bridgewater coming in and going undefeated while Brees was out with an injury. Instead, this team keeps Hill over him? That’s a big red flag. This team didn’t value Bridgewater so what makes you think it will value Winston after his contract expires? Now, the Saints could very well once again go to the better quarterback if Brees goes down and go with Winston or Hill. However, I’m not sure if that’s a guarantee like last year after they publicly defended Hill as a future starting quarterback.

Whether it’s all just a smokescreen and a giant one. Or it’s not and the Saints really do believe in Taysom Hill, it simply doesn’t matter. Winston should have sat out and waited for a better fit. There’s no way to know for sure if the Pittsburgh Steelers truly offered him a deal because that rumor did come out that he chose the Saints over the Steelers. If that is indeed the case and Winston bought into the fact he would have to be backup this season, he absolutely botched that decision to not play behind Roethlisberger who has had his fair share of injuries. On top of that, Winston would easily be the next man up ahead of Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph. In addition to that, Winston would have some of the best weapons a quarterback could have in JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Eric Ebron and newly-drafted wideout Chase Claypool.

In my humble opinion, Winston dropped the ball on this one. He panicked and signed too early. Now, there’s no guarantee next year’s quarterback slots open up with a draft class that will likely include Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance and Justin Fields. That right there, is exactly why Winston had to set himself up in the best situation possible. I don’t believe he did that. Could this work out? Yes. It’s less about him and more about my lack of trust in the Saints organization to give him any sort of shot at being the starter post-Brees. I could see this helping his development and being behind Brees could be a position of good mentorship. However, so could Winston playing with a coach that believed in him. We will see if this works out but don’t be shocked if Cam Newton ends up finding a good fit and ends up being the starter in a spot Winston could have excelled at.

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