Derek Carr Signing In New Orleans Opens Door For Jameis Winston Reunion In Tampa

On Monday, the New Orleans Saints and free agent quarterback Derek Carr agreed to a four-year, $150 million deal with $100 million in guaranteed money. That means the Saints will likely part ways with former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, who’ll be looking for a new team. What’s even crazier is Winston is only 29 and has a lot of football left in him, but unfortunate injuries and up-and-down play have become what his career is known for rather than actual results. 

Will Jameis Winston return to Tampa Bay now that New Orleans Saints have signed Derek Carr? (Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Where Will Jameis Winston Sign?

Fortunately for Winston, who has a 5,000-yard season to his credit, finding competent NFL quarterback play is an adventure at times. Meaning as long as Winston can still spin it, he’ll have a chance to start again. 

That chance could come in the form of a return to Tampa Bay, the team that drafted Winston No. 1 overall in 2015. After five eventful seasons, they decided to let him walk in favor of signing seven-time Super Bowl-winning signal-caller Tom Brady. 

Bucs Are In Cap Purgatory And Have No Proven QB On Roster

Brady’s second retirement was a reality check for the Bucs. Gone are the three seasons of knowing you had one of the greatest to ever play the position under center. Now comes the uncertainty going forward.  

But for a QB-hungry team with minimal cap space, Winston may be just the move that benefits both parties. Winston needs a job, and the Bucs need a signal-caller. If Jameis is anything like the 2021 version that had 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions prior to a season-ending ACL injury, it would be a steal. 

Saints Would Have To Release Winston

Most recently, while attending the HBCU Legacy Bowl, Winston told the NFL Network that he was anticipating what direction the Saints were going to go in. But he also stated that he had one year left on his contract. The signing of Carr pretty much ensures Winston will he released, but when?

ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter, tweeted this once the Carr signing became official. 

“With Derek Carr headed to New Orleans, Jameis Winston now becomes a likely salary- cap casualty,” Schefter reported. “New Orleans could move on and save $4.4M against the salary cap, but it would take on $11.2M in dead money. A post-June 1 cut would save $12.8M, but no savings until then.”

So in essence the Saints have a dilemma, keep Winston until after June 1, and save nearly $13M or release him prior so he can look to latch on with another squad. 

No matter when he’s released, Winston won’t have any shortage of suitors looking for a proven veteran. But if he wants another chance to start, the Saints need to move on from him sooner than later. 

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