The New Orleans Saints are about to enter one hectic offseason, and for the franchise, many will have their eyes on what they do with No. 28.
While he hasn’t officially declared that he’s going to retire, Drew Brees‘ restructuring his contract is a sign that the New Orleans Saints are not going to see their future Hall of Fame quarterback return in 2021.
If that’s the case, it’ll open an array of potential problems.
For starters, if the team opts to re-sign Jameis Winston, they may be forced to do so with money that could use to re-sign Marcus Williams or Trey Hendrickson. Sean Payton doesn’t seem set with Taysom Hill returning as the surefire starter in 2021.
Given how cap-strapped the Saints are, the team just won’t have the money to spend on all of their top-tier free agents. They’ll be forced to use their first-round pick to replace a player that they lose in free agency.
Whether that’s Alex Anzalone, Hendrickson, Williams or Brees, the Saints will be looking towards the draft to improve their roster. That said, one player that they should be keeping an eye on is Alabama’s Mac Jones.
While he may not fall to the end of the first round given his extremely accurate arm and tall stature, Jones does have many high-potential quarterbacks that could be taken before him, making him a potential late first-round target.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Jones actually falling to the Saints at No. 28 in his second 2021 mock draft.
"“If the Saints do re-sign Jameis Winston, Jones would provide an additional option as they try to replace Drew Brees, who’s expected to retire. Jones is a fit as an accurate thrower and good decision-maker,” Jeremiah wrote."
Jones is Jeremiah’s fifth quarterback off the board.
Trevor Lawrence goes No. 1 overall followed by Zach Wilson. Justin Fields at No. 4 and Trey Lance at No. 8 are the four taken before Jones. If Jeremiah’s mock draft was reality, Jones would be the only quarterback taken in the first round that wasn’t in the top ten.
Jones isn’t the best prospect of the five, but he may have had the best 2020 season. A Heisman finalist, Jones went off for the Crimson Tide. He threw for 4,100 yards and 41 touchdowns. He had a 41:4 touchdown to interception ratio.
While the talent gap at receiver and offensive line will decline compared to his time at Alabama, the hope is that his uber-accurate arm will be what propels him to be an elite quarterback.
If I’m the Saints and cannot get Winston back, betting on Jones to have a chance at being a solid rookie with Hill as a backup option just in case seems like a good gameplan moving forward.