It’s the end of an era in New Orleans as Sean Payton will no longer be the Saints head coach in 2022. The team has decided to promote from within by naming longtime defensive coordinator Dennis Allen their new head coach but have to make another important decision soon.
The Saints have had a hard time at the quarterback position since NFL legend Drew Brees called it a career and this offseason could be crucial for the future. Jameis Winston, who had a good start to the last season, is set to hit free agency in the summer and the team must decide whether they’ll bring him back.
Winston threw for 1700 yads, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games in 2021 before he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8. According to Jim Trotter of NFL Media, the Saints are open to exploring all options but they have reasons to bring back Winston.
NFL Free Agency: The Reason Why Winston Would Return To Saints
"They're going to explore every option as it relates to that position, meaning the draft, trades and free agency," Trotter told James Palmer on NFL Network. "And if they go the free agency route, the quarterback that makes the most sense is Jameis Winston. He's been in the system for two years. They've taken the time to develop him, he has a relationship with Pete Carmichael, who will be calling plays. So from that standpoint, Jameis makes sense.
“The other thing here too, Dennis Allen knows that this offensive system produces even without Sean Payton and we know how much we respect Sean Payton. Go back to 2012 when Sean was out for that year. They ranked 3rd in points and 2nd in yards, so the system is in place and the investment that they made with Jameis makes me believe that that’s the guy they will want to go after. My understanding is that if they had not already opened contract talks with him, they will very shortly.”
It would make sense given not only that Winston is familiar to the Saints but also that he proved what he was capable of doing as a starting quarterback before he tore his ACL. New Orleans is in a tough spot regarding its salary cap, with Taysom Hill also in its roster at QB.
However, the QB carousel has not started yet and they will have time to consider other options before leaning towards Winston. The Saints could also wait to the NFL Draft in April to fancy their chances of drafting a quarterback with the 17th overall pick.