July 6, 2022

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Why the New Orleans Saints are nonetheless playoff contenders after re-signing QB Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints Weblog

METAIRIE, La. – Jameis Winston makes as a lot sense for the New Orleans Saints now as he did two weeks in the past.

And he nonetheless makes New Orleans a professional playoff contender in 2022.

Clearly the Saints can’t cover from the truth that they thought quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was as a substitute treaded to the Cleveland Browns, can be a significant improve, as a result of they went overboard of their efforts to tie the franchise’s current, future and picture to the quarterback final week. Nonetheless, the Saints have at all times insisted they maintain Winston in excessive regard.

And sure, each issues could be true — which the Saints demonstrated by making an actual dedication to Winston with a two-year, $28 million contract that features $21 million assured.

That’s not only a placeholder deal. Positive, the Saints may nonetheless wind up drafting a quarterback within the subsequent 12 months or two as a result of they acknowledge how vital that place is to their long-term future. However they don’t must pressure a choose on a quarterback as a result of Winston remains to be simply 28 years outdated and will probably grow to be a long-term resolution himself.

Extra importantly, the Saints re-signed Winston as a result of they’re in win-now mode. They’ve repeatedly made it clear they don’t plan to rebuild beneath new coach Dennis Allen, regardless of their salary-cap limitations. They proved that by going after Watson. They proved it once more Monday.

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Though quarterbacks have been altering groups at a dizzying tempo all through the NFL in latest weeks, Winston arguably gives the perfect mixture of upside and inexpensive worth.

The previous No. 1 total draft choose and Heisman Trophy winner went 5-2 as New Orleans’ starter final season earlier than tearing his ACL in Week 8. Had he not gotten harm, the Saints would have had a great opportunity to make the playoffs — and re-signing Winston in all probability would have been a no brainer.

As a substitute, they completed 9-8 and narrowly missed the playoffs on a wild ultimate week of the season whereas setting an NFL document with 58 completely different starters utilized in a season due to accidents and COVID-19 points.

Winston wasn’t excellent in his first 12 months as New Orleans’ starter (he averaged simply 186 passing yards in his six full video games and accomplished simply 59% of his passes). However he proved he might overcome the turnovers that derailed his profession with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by throwing 14 landing passes with simply three interceptions. He flashed his big-play capability with 4 completions of 49-plus yards. His passer ranking of 102.8 was a profession excessive.

And he did all that with maybe the NFL’s most anemic assortment of pass-catchers whereas All-Professional receiver Michael Thomas missed your complete season due to an ankle damage.

This 12 months, Thomas is predicted again wholesome. And it could be stunning if the Saints don’t add extra pass-catching assist via free company and the draft.

The Saints should overcome some new holes elsewhere — beginning with Sean Payton’s determination to step away from teaching. In addition they misplaced free security Marcus Williams to the Baltimore Ravens in free company (changing him with former New York Jets security Marcus Maye). And there’s a good probability they are going to lose three-time Professional Bowl left sort out Terron Armstead, who entered this offseason as ESPN’s No. 1 ranked free agent.

Regardless of dropping Payton, Winston nonetheless shall be working with the identical offensive coordinator (Pete Carmichael Jr.) and quarterbacks coach (Ronald Curry), and the Saints nonetheless have one of many NFL’s greatest defenses.

They nonetheless have an enviable assortment of elite gamers (Thomas, working again Alvin Kamara, proper sort out Ryan Ramczyk, defensive finish Cameron Jordan, linebacker Demario Davis and cornerback Marshon Lattimore amongst them). They will’t assist however have higher luck with accidents than final season.

And so they now have extra salary-cap area and draft capital to work with after paying a fraction of the value for Winston that they might have for Watson. They received’t expend your complete $30 million value of cap area they carved out for a possible Watson commerce, however they need to be capable of choose their spots and add a few extra worth signings.

All of these elements ought to add as much as a sensible run on the NFC South title or a wild-card spot — although Tom Brady determined to return again to the rival Buccaneers.

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