Saints' Updated Depth Chart After Drew Brees Announces Retirement

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) takes the hand off from quarterback Taysom Hill (7) during the NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

For the first time since 2006, the New Orleans Saints need to find a new starting quarterback.

Drew Brees announced Sunday he's retiring from the NFL.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Drew Brees has officially retired from the NFL @brgridiron His kids helped him with his announcement ❤️ https://t.co/p2uVvrqOPV

The 13-time Pro Bowler is the second notable departure from the offense following the reported release of Emmanuel Sanders, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Here's how the unit is shaping up without Brees:


Saints Offense

  • QB: Taysom Hill
  • RB: Alvin Kamara
  • WR: Michael Thomas
  • WR: Tre'Quan Smith
  • WR: Marquez Callaway
  • TE: Adam Trautman
  • LT: Terron Armstead
  • LG: Andrus Peat
  • C: Erik McCoy
  • RG: Cesar Ruiz
  • RT: Ryan Ramczyk

The obvious question is whether the Saints intend to ride with Taysom Hill at quarterback, attempt to bring Jameis Winston back or pursue an outside addition.

Many were surprised when Hill replaced an injured Brees during the 2020 regular season. New Orleans went 3-1 with him under center, but his performance (834 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions) didn't really answer whether he can be a long-term solution. It's also worth noting two of Hill's starts came against the Atlanta Falcons, who allowed a league-high 293.6 passing yards per game.

Winston, meanwhile, attempted just 11 passes in the regular season. His 56-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith in the divisional round wasn't far off from matching his total output (75 yards) to that point.

According to CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora, the Saints are interested in re-signing the 2015 Pro Bowler. Ian Rapoport filed a similar report and described Winston as the "likely starter":

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @NFLNetwork: #Saints QB Drew Brees has finally officially retired, but New Orleans had already been working on a deal with Jameis Winston, the likely starter in 2021. https://t.co/Nq1qV2cGa9

The franchise could potentially have a pretty seamless transition from Brees to a true successor, be it Hill or Winston.

Should neither signal-caller work out, general manager Mickey Loomis could have a big problem on his hands because finding a franchise quarterback is easier said than done.