Coming into the 2021 season, Sean Payton knew that he was going to have to adjust to life after Drew Brees. What the head coach of the New Orleans Saints didn’t realize was that he would have to find another quarterback to fill in for Brees’ replacement.
Jameis Winston, who’s started all seven games for the Saints this season, suffered a season-ending injury Sunday afternoon in New Orleans’ victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Pro Bowler sustained an apparent ACL injury after taking a hit early in the second quarter.
Winston’s diagnosis leaves the Saints with a massive hole under center and Payton with a decision to make. He could stand by Trevor Siemian, who relieved Winston on Sunday, or turn the reins back over to Taysom Hill, who has missed the last two games with a concussion. Another option would be to consider a trade before Tuesday’s deadline or try and sign a free agent.
Based on a few comments made from Payton on Monday, it sounds like the Saints will avoid the latter.
Payton reportedly said that it would be “a challenge” to bring in an outside quarterback at this stage of the year, according to Jeff Duncan of New Orleans Times-Picayune. He didn’t fully rule out that option, but it’s believed that he’ll stick with the in-house quarterbacks.
Payton said it would "a challenge" to bring in a QB at this point of the season that is unfamiliar with his offense. He didn't say it was impossible but with QBs already familiar with the system, it sounds like he believes the best route is to go with the QBs they have.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) November 1, 2021
One potential free agent option was already reportedly ruled out by Payton and his staff. According to Pro Football Talk, New Orleans has decided to take a pass on Cam Newton, who has gone unsigned since he was cut by the New England Patriots this preseason.
That leaves the Saints with a decision to make by next Sunday. Payton could go with Siemian, who led the team to a massive upset over the Buccaneers this weekend, or Hill, who gives New Orleans a more creative, run-heavy offense.
The Saints head coach will have the next few days to pick before his team is back in action next Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.