Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland says team a great fit for Jameis Winston


METAIRIE, La. — Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints had not yet finalized their pending deal as of Monday night, but assistant general manager Jeff Ireland made the case for why it’s such a good fit for both sides.

“It’s a compliment to Jameis Winston to understand where he’s at in this world and sign a one-year deal here and learn behind Drew [Brees],” Ireland said during an appearance on the “Matt Mosley Show” on ESPN Central Texas radio. “Look, there’s no better teacher. If Drew never said a word to him, he would observe more than he’ll ever learn in football just by learning how Drew does things. He’s an incredible leader. He’s an incredible studier of the game, how he breaks down his opponents.

“And then you throw in [offensive coordinator] Pete Carmichael, [quarterbacks coach] Joe Lombardi and Sean Payton on the offensive side of the ball and those creative minds, Jameis Winston will learn more football in a year than he has in his lifetime.”

The upside for the Saints is pretty obvious, too, assuming they can get Winston at a discount rate under the circumstances.

The Saints have continued to insist that they believe versatile backup Taysom Hill could become the future successor to the 41-year-old Brees — as they proved by signing him to a two-year, $21 million contract on Sunday. But in the meantime, the Saints have made it clear throughout this offseason that they wanted to sign a veteran backup quarterback who would be ready to step into a game if needed so that they can continue using Hill as a QB/RB/TE/WR.

Winston, who is still just 26 years old, has as much upside as any other veteran they could have signed. Now they will get to evaluate him as a possible successor to Brees himself. Or perhaps he’ll land a starting gig elsewhere next year — and they could receive a high-end compensatory draft pick instead.

“It really probably won’t be too much different than last year,” Ireland said of the setup with Brees, Hill and Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games while Brees was injured last season. “We feel like [Hill] can start in the league at some point when it’s his turn, and that’s obviously why we invested in him. But we also need a No. 2 to really utilize [Hill’s] skillset and his upside to the full extent of his ability. … We can’t do those things [with Hill] if we don’t have a solid No. 2.”

Source : ESPN