The New Orleans Saints have a decision to make regarding Jameis Winston's future with the team. This was going to be something they had to do anyway so this isn't a topic coming up just because of what happened in Week 18 with the kneel down vs the Jamaal Williams touchdown.
According to Nick Underhill on X, a decision needs to be made on Winston by March 16 or the quarterback will receive approximately $107 million. Obviously, the Saints have no desire to pay a backup quarterback that kind of money and Underhill replied to his own post saying that it's to ensure that Winston is either released or extended by then.
What will the Saints do with Jameis Winston?
John Sigler of Saints Wire broke down the Winston contract situation really well when the Saints restructured Winston's deal. It was confusing because even though a restructure was happening, it doesn't mean that Winston is staying in New Orleans.
The move was made because it gives the Saints more flexibility in the short-term. They can also work with Winston on a new contract if both sides are interested. Yes, some might think that the two won't reunite after what happened in Week 18 but truthfully, I'd imagine both sides will have moved on from that by then. Winston has been a solid backup since sliding into that role.
If the Saints are wanting to move on from Winston, however, they can designate him as a post-June 1 release, which means they'd be carrying a roughly $4 million cap hit and would save $1.2 million and pay $7.3 in dead money this year, per Sigler's post.
The Saints are going to have to make a lot of tough decisions this offseason and what to do with Winston is just one of those decisions. He's been a serviceable backup during his time in New Orleans and while the Week 18 "stunt" could have rubbed people the wrong way, that doesn't need to be the reason why the Saints choose to move on from him, if they do.
So, to be clear, if Winston is released this offseason, it'll be to save money or for him to find a better opportunity elsewhere. It won't have anything to do with what happened in Week 18, or at least it shouldn't.