If all goes well, the New Orleans Saints should be able to wrap up their quarterback situation this offseason and re-sign Jameis Winston for 2022.
Of all the quarterback options in the league, Winston serves as the most logical given the Saints’ desire to remain competitive this season. No QB prospect in the 2022 draft has starting-caliber talent, and no one in free agency particularly stuns either.
The Saints can always draft a mid-round developmental quarterback, much like Ian Book last year, and still vie for the playoffs with Winston under center.
PFF’s Arjun Menon predicted landing spots for the top 50 free agents in the league and had Winston staying in NOLA:
"Winston has to be the biggest what-if in the NFL this year. His EPA per play would’ve finished second behind Aaron Rodgers but suffered a season-ending injury. Nonetheless, he should be able to come back at full strength next season, which makes for an interesting situation."
Menon notes that Winston could command a one-year deal worth $7 million in guaranteed money, which sounds par for the course.
New Orleans Saints expected to hold onto Jameis Winston for 2022
The Winston experiment in New Orleans got off to a promising start in 2021 when Winston won five of seven games and showed starry potential as a reliable signal-caller.
In 2022, the team hopes Winston will pick up where he left off with the added bonus of Michael Thomas hopefully starting in the lineup. Sean Payton managed to rein in Winston’s turnover-prone plays last year, and it remains to be seen if Dennis Allen can do the same.
With Aaron Rodgers likely staying in Green Bay and Russell Wilson also sticking to his team as well, Winston may very well be the top free agent quarterback this offseason. The Saints will have to protect him from the grabby hands of Washington, Denver, Miami, or any other QB-needy team, and NOLA’s cap space, as always, poses a tough but workable issue.
As the most popular and reasonable option, re-signing Winston could make NOLA the NFC South favorites for 2022 barring any blockbuster QB trade by the Bucs or Panthers.
Everyone in New Orleans should hope Winston’s deal gets finalized soon.