What will be Saints game plan now that Winston is signed?
Like it or not, Jameis Winston is officially a New Orleans Saint.
The fifth year pro and former first round pick out of Florida State signed a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, the organization announced Tuesday.
Winston will earn $952,000 in base salary and receives a $148,000 signing bonus. Winston also has the possibility of collecting $3.4 million in incentives.
By signing Winston after the 3 p.m. deadline Monday, the Saints put themselves in position to get a compensatory pick in next year’s draft for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, this according to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Last year Winston earned nearly $21 million for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So why would Winston take such a hit in pay? And why would the Saints sign Winston, a man who has thrown 88 interceptions in the last five seasons and has had some very big hits to his reputation?
The answer to the first question came from Winston’s own mouth.
“Being a part of the New Orleans Saints, being a part with Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Sean Payton, (quarterbacks) coach Joe Lombardi, (offensive coordinator) Pete Carmichael. When you think about that room, that’s like a Harvard education in quarterback school,” Winston said. “There was no better position than to be in the same room with someone that I really looked up to, someone that I admire since I’ve been playing this game in Drew Brees.”
Winston, who was thought to have other offers from teams across the NFL, apparently thought that being a Saint was the best road to take at this point in his career.
That brings us to the second question.
The most obvious answer to that question lies in two things: Winston’s physical abilities and his stats other than the interceptions.
Winston was a two-sport athlete at Florida State, playing baseball in the spring. The Heisman Trophy winner has also rushed for 1,044 yards in his career, showing that he has the ability to escape the pocket and keep drives alive.
During his NFL career, Winston has thrown for over 19,000 yards and 121 touchdowns. The former Seminole and Buccaneer has also shown his arm strength, completing several passes for 60 yards or more.
As far as the reputation goes, there is no doubt that Winston has made his own life harder that it had to be. Winston was suspended by the league for three games after an investigation it conducted into a Uber driver groping incident.
Winston was also under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in 2013. He has also been involved in two shoplifting incidents since 2013.
What the Saints are hoping is that being in the presence of leaders like Brees and Cameron Jordan, Winston will learn how to become more professional in his on and off the field approach. There are none better to learn from.
So how will Winston be used? Will he be the No. 2 man behind Brees or will he be the veteran ready to step in if Taysom Hill can’t get the job done as the No. 2 guy?
Hopefully, the Saints will not have to answer that question. Hopefully, Brees will stay healthy the entire 2020 season, if and when it does begin.
But if that is not the case, New Orleans is counting on Winston to be a quick learner just in case he does have to hit the field.