The New Orleans Saints bring quarterback Jameis Winston back after missing their chase on Deshaun Watson.
Winston and the Saints agreed to a two-year deal with a base value of $28 million, including $21 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter Monday.
The Saints were one of four teams to compete for Watson, who was eventually traded to the Cleveland Browns.
Winston, 28, went 5-2 in his first year as a starter with the Saints last season, but he tore the ACL in his left knee and suffered MCL damage on October 31.
The former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner posted a career-high passer rating of 102.8 with the Saints last season, completing 95 of 161 passes (59%) for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions. He also ran for 166 yards and one touchdown and lost one fumble.
Although Winston averaged only 186 passing yards in his six full games, he still flashed his great playing skills with four completions over 49 yards. And he proved he could overcome the turnover problems that plagued him during his first five NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Winston went 28-42 as a starter for the Buccaneers, completing 61.3% of his passes for 19,737 yards and 131 total touchdowns, including 10 rushing. He also had 88 interceptions and 23 lost fumbles.
He exhibited some dynamic highs and lows during his tenure with the Bucs, most notably in 2019 when he led the league with 5,109 passing yards, while also becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to score at least 30 touchdown goals in the same season. passes and 30 interceptions. (33 TDs and 30 INTs).
When Tampa Bay chose to move on to Tom Brady in 2020, Winston joined the Saints as a backup to try and revive his career under then-coach Sean Payton and starter Drew Brees. Winston signed a one-year deal worth only $1.1 million plus incentives because he said he wanted to get a “Harvard education in quarterback school.”
Winston signed another one-year deal with the Saints before the 2021 season, which will include $5.5 million in guarantees and up to $7 million in incentives after Brees retired. He beat Taysom Hill to win the preseason runway, and he was repeatedly praised by Payton for both his arm strength and leadership.
Mike Triplett of ESPN contributed to this report.