Why Did The Saints Pick Up Winston?

33 touchdowns. 30 interceptions. If Jameis Winston’s 2019-2020 season had to be summed up in two sentences, those would be them. Winston lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 7-9 record while throwing for a combined total of 5,109 passing yards last season.

Just yesterday the ex-Buccaneers quarterback signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints and will now be playing under Drew Brees — rather than attempting to find a starting job elsewhere. There will be a battle between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston for the backup spot next season. But why would the Saints invest in Winston? They already have a future hall-of-fame quarterback in Brees, and things ahead look bright for Hill — which leads many questioning: What do the Saints have to gain signing Winston?

In order to better-understand this perspective, one must look at the Saints’ possible motives that are a result of their circumstances.

This Is A Major Backup Plan If Things Go South In The NFC South:

Drew Brees is 41 years old. He has been playing in the NFL for 19 years — making this his 20th season — and unfortunately hasn’t been able to escape the physical toll of injuries throughout his NFL veteran tenure. Last season, Brees was taken out against the Rams with a torn ligament in his throwing thumb. Teddy Bridgewater took over the helm as starting quarterback for the next five weeks and won each game with incredible numbers.

Unfortunately for New Orleans, it is practically impossible to keep two quarterbacks that can compete at the level of Brees and Bridgewater due to pay. Teddy Bridgewater left New Orleans in the offseason to become the starter in Carolina with the Panthers. This left the Saints with Taysom Hill as their backup — who has only completed seven career passes to New Orleans teammates. Ironically, Jameis Winston (despite previously being on the Buccaneers) has completed more passes (10) to Saints players in his career than Hill has in his. Winston could be their possible backup plan if Brees is injured again this season.

They Will Be Able To Train Him and Make Him Better:

It is everything but official that Drew Brees is a Hall-of-Fame quarterback. He won Super Bowl XLIV — in which he was voted the MVP of the game, has made 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and was voted offensive player of the year in 2008 and 2011. Drew Brees is best-known for his offensive intelligence and incredible anticipation. Guess who else needs offensive intelligence and incredible anticipation? I’ll give you a hint: he threw 30 interceptions last season.

Jameis Winston will be able to be educated in Drew Brees’ ways of anticipating plays before they happen, which will probably start to bring his total interceptions down. In an interview with Greg Auman of The Athletic, Winston commented on what type of experience he thinks he is going to have with New Orleans:

“Being a part of (the) New Orleans Saints, with Drew Brees,┬áTaysom Hill, Sean Payton, coach Joe Lombardi (quarterbacks coach), coach Pete Carmichael Jr. (offensive coordinator), when you think about that room, that’s like a Harvard education at quarterback school. There’s a proverb: Humility comes before honor. I have to humble myself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with Drew Brees and to be with the New Orleans Saints and just prepare for when my next opportunity is going to present itself.”

-Jameis Winston on his future with the Saints

Winston just couldn’t find his groove in Tampa. Some blame it on Bruce Arians (former head coach), his offensive weapons (or lack thereof), the offensive line, and much more. But to me, it just seems that all of his combined circumstances were setting himself up for failure. It was a lose-lose situation for him and the Buccaneers. Now, because of the incredible teaching of Drew Brees and the Saints’ coaching staff, he has been given a fresh start and New Orleans might now have their future quarterback for when Drew Brees retires.