Jameis Winston contract: Saints set to begin talks with QB ahead of 2022 NFL free agency, per report

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The Saints will have a new head coach in 2022, with Dennis Allen replacing Sean Payton. They might also have a new quarterback, with incumbent starter Jameis Winston set to hit free agency in March. That doesn’t mean New Orleans isn’t prioritizing a potential reunion with Winston, however. If the team hasn’t begun negotiations with the veteran QB, it will very soon, according to NFL Media’s Jim Trotter, who reported Friday that Winston figures to remain one of its top options under center.

“They’re going to explore every option as it relates to that position, meaning the draft, trades and free agency,” Trotter said on NFL Network. “(But) 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 … My understanding is, if they have not already opened contract talks with him, they will very shortly.”

The 28-year-old Winston headlines a thin free agent class of veteran QBs after his first run as the Saints’ full-time starter. The former No. 1 overall pick got off to a solid start in 2021, throwing 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions during a 5-2 stretch, but a Week 8 ACL tear ended his season prematurely. Entering free agency, he doesn’t figure to command a lucrative deal, both as a result of his injury and a spotty track record as the Buccaneers‘ starter from 2015-19.

Still, the Saints face the NFL’s most dire salary cap situation this offseason, so it’s unclear how much they’ll have to spend at QB, where they also have backup Taysom Hill under contract. New Orleans could also look to the first round of April’s draft to add to the position; the Saints currently hold the 17th overall selection.

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