Jameis Winston signed a two-year deal to remain in New Orleans last offseason, but he may not be around for the final year of the deal.
"We need to find one," Saints vice president and assistant GM Jeff Ireland said recently when asked about the team's plan at QB, via Pro Football Talk.
"It has to be the right guy... Gotta have the right traits, gotta have the right intelligence. In the history of the game, generally you have to take one early," Ireland continued.
Ireland's statement that the team needs to find someone with "the right intelligence" feels like a shot at Winston and the perpetuation of a stereotype about Black QBs.
Winston started the first three games of the season, suffering multiple fractures in his lower back in Week 1 that severely hampered him the next two games. In Week 4, head coach Dennis Allen started journeyman Andy Dalton.
Even with Winston healthy and the offense sputtering, Allen refused to return to the team's opening-day starter. Instead, Dalton started the rest of the season.
The results were as mediocre as one would expect a team led by Dalton this late in his career. The lowest point came in a Week 18 loss to Carolina when the defense only allowed 32 passing yards.
Winston is 6-4 in two seasons as a starter in New Orleans. He has completed 168 of 276 (60.9 percent) passes for for 2,028 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
In 2021, he suffered a season-ending ACL tear against Tampa Bay. He showed enough promise during his first six games as a starter that the team re-signed him to a two-year, $28 million deal during the 2022 offseason.
The Saints would save $12.8 million by designating him as a post-June 1 cut.
It's a shame that things haven't worked out for Winston in New Orleans. He embraced the city, but injuries and a lack of belief from his head coach cut his time as a starter short.
General manager Mickey Loomis believes the team isn't far away from contention, but the Saints will only go as far as their next QB will take them.
New Orleans may have the assets now to grab a new quarterback after acquiring a first-round pick from Denver for former Saints HC Sean Payton.
For whatever reason, New Orleans' starting QB doesn't appear to be Winston. He was never given much of an opportunity anyway.
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