Jameis Winston returned to New Orleans despite knowing he would back up Derek Carr.
The former No. 1 overall pick took to social media Wednesday to explain his decision, noting that while he believes he’s a “championship-caliber starting quarterback,” New Orleans has become like home.
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“First, I love this city,” Winston wrote. “In all of my professional career, I’ve never felt so culturally in tune with a fan base. The Saints fans that I’ve met have been incredible. Y’all have made me and my family feel at home. That is why last season was so disappointing to me. I want to see this team and city succeed. I know great things are ahead for this team, and this city! I was led here by the spirit that’s why I would never run away from this new challenge. The things that led me here are still here. A stable organization, a championship caliber team, and a great fan base. This year’s team like last year’s team is built to win a Super Bowl.
“Let there be no doubt, I am still a championship caliber starting quarterback in this league. However, getting healthy and staying healthy is my number one priority and I have suffered three devastating injuries over the last two years. I need to stay healthy to assist this team in getting to where we want to go. Most importantly, I need to stay healthy to get me where I want to go in my career! With that being said, I will serve and lead however I need to see this organization and city win! I am proud to say for one more year, at least Who Dat!”
It’s a nice sentiment, but let’s be honest: Had Winston found starting-caliber money or a better chance to win playing time, he wouldn’t still be a member of the Saints. None materialized in free agency.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported that Winston’s new deal includes $4 million in guarantees (a $2.835 million bonus and a $1.165M base salary), with a maximum value of $8 million.
Winston’s re-signing did help the Saints clear a chunk of cap space. The deal pushed $11.068 million from the cap. Had the QB signed elsewhere, that dead money would have escalated to the 2023 season. So Winston did help New Orleans get under the cap before Wednesday’s deadline.
The reality of Winston’s situation is that barring an injury to Carr, who hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2017, the former starter will be saddled to the bench for another season.
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