X

Jameis Winston, Saints Agree to 1-Year Contract After 5 Seasons with Buccaneers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2020

El quarterback Jameis Winston, de los Buccaneers de Tampa Bay, anota una conversión de dos puntos en el partido frente a los Falcons de Atlanta, el domingo 29 de diciembre de 2019, en Tampa, Florida. (AP Foto/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Jameis Winston's next chapter has officially begun.

The New Orleans Saints announced Tuesday they agreed to terms with Winston on a one-year contract.

This comes after the Florida State product failed to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs in any of his five years as the supposed franchise quarterback. In March, he tweeted a message to the city that will host the next Super Bowl saying, "It's been a great 5 seasons as a Buccaneer. All love and respect, I love Tampa and I look forward to seeing y'all again in February."

While Tampa Bay appeared to make Winston its quarterback of the future when it selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, it was far from a sure thing he would be back in 2020 after a frustrating 2019 campaign.

Head coach Bruce Arians told reporters in December, "With another quarterback? Oh yeah," when asked if Tampa Bay could win without the Florida State product. "We can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too...we're going to have this defense."

It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for Winston even before the team added Tom Brady, which was understandable given the season he was coming off of at the time. 

Winston flashed his potential by throwing for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also led Tampa Bay to a 7-9 mark, which was far from great but also a solid finish considering it started 2-6 through the first eight games.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

However, the Buccaneers could have been much better without his mistakes. He threw 30 interceptions, including an NFL-record seven pick-sixes, and he became the first player in league history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season.

The turnover concerns surely contributed to Arians' hesitancy to commit when he provided a timeline for a Winston decision.

"I would think within a few weeks we'll have a decision which way we want to head," he said. "Will we let it out? Probably not because you lose your leverage on that one, too, so stay tuned."

On one hand, Winston has impressed with clear arm talent that allows him to hit receivers downfield or thread passes through tight windows. He is capable of putting up points in a hurry when he establishes a rhythm and will surely get another opportunity to further prove himself somewhere else.

Still, he must improve his decision-making, as evidenced by the picks. The 2019 season is not the first time it's been a problem, as he has 11 or more interceptions every year of his career to this point.

Winston is just 26 years old, and it is not a reach to suggest he can still be an impact quarterback in the league if he cuts down on his mistakes.

There may be no better quarterback to learn from than Drew Brees when it comes to limiting mistakes. Brees has thrown only 17 interceptions over the last three seasons, posting an interception percentage of 1.5 or less in all three years. Winston's lowest interception rate is 2.5 percent, and he threw picks on 4.8 percent of his passes in 2019.

A year under Brees and head coach Sean Payton and a chance to watch the game from the sidelines for the first time may just be the thing that saves Winston's career. 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.