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CSC Mailbag: Will the Saints have four quarterbacks in 2020?

Could the Saints have Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, and Tommy Stevens all on the roster this year? That and more in this week’s mailbag.

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

We’re now beginning the dead of the NFL offseason, so in order to give the people what they want, we’re going to try to cover period questions you might have about your New Orleans Saints. If this series is met with positive reviews, hopefully we can continue this on through the 2020 NFL season as well.

Let’s dive into some of your questions!

Alvin Kamara’s career best all-purpose yards is “only” 1,901 in his rookie season, and that number has actually decreased in each of his three years in the NFL. Not so much the offensive line, but injuries were reportedly the issue with Kamara’s down year in 2019, so if he’s truly healthy and ready to go for 2020, it’s possible Kamara comes close to mirroring his 2017 success. But considering Deonte Harris is now handling punts and kicks, and Latavius Murray is in the backfield to help take the load off Kamara’s shoulders, it would legitimately shock me if Kamara had 2,000 or more yards in 2020.

Short answer: No, and I’m OK with that.

First off, I don’t think JuJu Smith-Schuster actually walks away from the Pittsburgh Steelers next offseason. Either the Steelers front office extends him or they slap the franchise tag on him to keep him around at least another season.

However, even if Smith-Schuster were to actually hit the open market, the Saints won’t have the cap space to make it happen. They have too many of their players are going to need extensions (Ryan Ramczyk, anyone?). That is on top of the fact the 2021 salary cap might not increase as much as earlier expected as the Covid-19 pandemic could cut into the NFL’s profits.

Basically, don’t hold your breath for JuJu Smith-Schuster. But considering Michael Thomas is under contract for a few more years and Emmanuel Sanders signed a two-year deal to come to New Orleans this offseason, we should be fine.

If there was ever a time for Emmanuel Butler to take step forward into the starting offense, it would have been last year, when the Saints essentially had Michael Thomas and nothing else at wide receiver. Now the Saints have added Emmanuel Sanders this offseason to pair with Michael Thomas, plus started to use Deonte Harris more in the offense as the year went on. Coupled with Taysom Hill and Jared Cook’s ability in the passing game and Taysom Hill’s continued development as a route-runner, and Butler’s road to the active roster actually seems more difficult this year than last.

That being said, that’s not to say it can’t happen. The Saints still have just two legitimate options at wide receiver in Thomas and Sanders, so there’s room for a third to step up. Could it be 2019 UDFA Emmanuel Butler? Or maybe 2020 UDFA Marquez Callaway? Or what about 2018 3rd round pick Tre’Quan Smith? I think just one of the three names I just mentioned makes the active roster week in and week out, and, for now, my money is on Tre’Quan Smith.

Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Taysom Hill are making this roster. No doubt about it.

For Tommy Stevens, it’s technically possible, but it will be an uphill battle considering rosters don’t expand under the new CBA until the 2021 season. Stevens is such an enigma right now - was he drafted to be a potential backup quarterback to Taysom Hill’s quarterback playbook in the future? Or was he drafted to be a potential backup to what Taysom Hill provides the Saints offense right now? It’s completely unknown.

I think what the Saints do with Stevens will be very telling for what the future holds for Tommy Stevens. If Stevens makes the active roster for Week 1, it actually makes me think the Saints are doing what they can to secure a potential backup quarterback option behind Taysom Hill as the 2021 starter.

Tommy Stevens sure is a fun topic.

In a world where the Stevens is able to make the roster, I think it’s almost guaranteed that we see Stevens, Hill, and Brees take the field at the same time. Remember: Sean Payton ran a few plays like this with Drew, Taysom, and Teddy Bridgewater, so Payton would certainly love to run a similar play where opposing defenses can’t just write off whichever quarterback between Drew and Teddy wasn’t lined up under center.

What do you think? Do you disagree with my answers? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisDunnells.