There's a new quarterback in New Orleans and the aftershocks of the Saints inking a deal with Derek Carr are still being felt. While Andy Dalton -- who started 14 games for the team last year -- is all but gone as he is entering unrestricted free agency, the status of Jameis Winston is still up in the air. The team has offered the former No. 1 overall pick a restructured contract to say with the team as Carr's backup, but it comes with a deadline, according to ESPN.
If Winston does not accept this restructured contract offer from the team by Wednesday (the start of the new league year), he will be released, per this latest report. New Orleans is currently $24.5 million over the salary cap and will need to get under that threshold before the new league year, so restructuring Winston could help the team get part of the way there. He is currently due $12.8 million in base salary in 2023 and has a cap hit of $15.6 million. If the team outright releases him, they'd free up $4.4 million.
Of course, paying a backup $12.8 million is unfeasible if you're New Orleans especially after signing Carr to a lucrative deal. So, something will need to give between the team and Winston. If the quarterback gets the sense that his market could be solid in free agency, he may allow the team to release him. If he decides to stay in New Orleans, he'd be one of the better backups in the NFL.
Winston, who agreed to a two-year, $28 million extension last offseason, was the Saints Week 1 starter this past season, but only appeared in three games. In the season opener, he suffered multiple fractures in his back and was eventually put on the shelf in place of Dalton.
He initially arrived in New Orleans back in 2020 and has started 10 of his 14 games played for the franchise. That includes seven starts in 2021 where he helped the team go 5-2 while boasting a 102.8 passer rating before suffering a torn ACL that ended his season. Before joining the Saints, Winston was the franchise QB for Tampa Bay, who selected him first overall in 2015 out of Florida State. With the Bucs, Winston started 70 regular season games and has 121 touchdowns to go with 88 interceptions.