Analyzing the New Orleans Saints pending free agents

Jameis Winston #2 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston #2 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

QB Jameis Winston

You knew where this was heading!

We recently covered why Winston is the perfect option to start for the Saints in 2021, and by all indications, Sean Payton agrees. The head coach has consistently promoted the former first-overall pick as his future quarterback, and all indications is that he’ll be brought back.

What other choice do the Saints have? You’re not going to find a flawless quarterback for cheap, so taking advantage of the NFL’s overlooking of Winston is their best bet.

Yes, the former Buccaneer commits a lot of turnovers.

However, as we’ve discussed, his propensity to produce air yards at a high level makes him less than replaceable, and since his average depth of target has been at such an extreme level, he can slightly lower it to limit turnovers while also retaining his big-play ability.

He also played in some very difficult offensive systems, so meshing with Payton, who can scheme much more early-down play-action passes and high-percentage throws, should do wonders for him.

Given the Saints’ limited capabilities to keep their roster at a high level in 2021, they need to go for upside at the quarterback position. Winston’s big-play ability provides them with that, and if not, they’ll earn a high pick and have a chance at a future quarterback. His boom-or-bust nature is perfect for them.

This wouldn’t preclude the Saints from drafting a quarterback like Mac Jones in the first round, but Winston is still young (26), has been productive, and certainly can be a bridge quarterback for multiple seasons.

Honestly, he’s the best free-agent quarterback likely to be available and is better than the majority of the quarterbacks being mentioned in trades right now. Plus, I’d bet that his next contract is under $10 million, making him end more a value.

Chance He’s Back: Very High

Recommended Contract: Anything Under $10 Million Is a Bargain

Should He Be Back? Absolutely