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Jameis Winston is reportedly finalizing a one-year contract with the Saints to come back up Drew Brees in New Orleans. The Saints are likely waiting until late tomorrow afternoon to “finalize” the deal so the move won’t count against the 2021 compensatory pick formula. With that in mind, the deal is likely all but done.
Here are 3 winners and 3 losers from the news:
Winner - Jameis Winston
Let’s get this one out of the way first. There’s a reason it’s being reported that Jameis is taking less money to come to New Orleans and back up Drew Brees than he could make playing somewhere else. Jameis saw what Teddy Bridgewater was able to do last year, turning a five-game stint with the Saints into a multi-year, big-dollar starting contract with the Carolina Panthers. Jameis is likely hoping for a similar outcome for himself - come to the Saints on a one-year deal, re-establish his market value, and then sign a big money contract next offseason.
Loser - Taysom Hill
In with Jameis to the Saints comes quarterback controversy to the backup role in New Orleans. Sean Payton and the Saints have repeatedly said they believe Taysom Hill could be a future starting quarterback in New Orleans, and playing as Drew’s primary backup would have gone a long way to making that happen. It’s still possible Taysom takes over as the starting quarterback for the Saints in 2021 as Jameis is only on a one-year deal, but Taysom’s current contract is only a one-year deal also. Now, Taysom will have to enter camp and prove he should be the next man up in the event of an injury to Drew.
Winner - Deonte Harris
Deonte Harris went from an undrafted free agent to an All Pro return specialist in 2019. As the season went on, his role in the starting offense began to expand. In the Saints playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Harris was one of the lone bright spots on offense as he hauled in a deep pass from Taysom Hill that set up the Saints with a first-and-goal. Taysom has a cannon, but can struggle with accuracy. Jameis’s arm is even better - the knock on his interceptions was never really accuracy, but just decision-making. Drew’s arm might not have the zip it once had, so if Jameis comes in to take snaps every now and then, look for the Saints to target big plays down field with Deonte Harris as the primary recipient.
Loser - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To go from the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft to being unceremoniously neglected for the Bucs to sign 42-year-old Tom Brady, Jameis likely has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. It’s probably not a coincidence that Jameis has chosen to stay within the NFC South, as he now will suit up, even if not starting, against his former team twice in 2020. Jameis will be looking to prove Tampa made the wrong move in opting for Brady, so Jameis will come in more focused than ever. That’s also ignoring the fact that Jameis had a year with Tampa’s new playbook under Bruce Arians and can tell Sean Payton all the dirty little secrets about how to expose his former teammates on the field. Look out, Buccaneers.
Winner - Sean Payton
The Saints threw out three-quarterback sets with Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, and Teddy Bridgewater a few times over the past few seasons. Now the Saints will have potentially five different offensive players who could throw a pass: Brees, Taysom, Jameis, free agent acquisition Emmanuel Sanders, and 7th round draft pick Tommy Stevenson. Sean Payton is going to have fun with this.
Loser - Marshon Lattimore
The two have...let’s call it “history.”
A lot going on here between Jameis Winston, Marshon Lattimore, and Mike Evans pic.twitter.com/TNBXPdt0lp— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) November 5, 2017