NFL

Sean Payton Sends Message to New Orleans Saints Fans About Future of Jameis Winston

The future of Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints has been all but confirmed. Most expect the Hall of Fame-bound quarterback to be working in the broadcast booth for the 2021 NFL season. Saints fans still aren’t sure if and when Brees retires, who will be the starter next season. On Wednesday, head coach Sean Payton provided a pretty clear message about what he expects will happen. 

Sean Payton has said Taysom Hill is future New Orleans Saints QB

RELATED: The Surprising Way Taysom Hill Ended Up Playing for Sean Payton and the Saints

For quite some time, Sean Payton has maintained Taysom Hill is the future quarterback of the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees retires. Furthering that thought, when Brees suffered an injury and was out for a month this season, Payton called on Hill.

During that four-game stretch, Hill completed 82-of-114 passes for 834 yards, or an average of 208 yards per game. He finished with four touchdowns and a couple of interceptions. 

More importantly, during that same time, the Saints went 3-1 with a couple of wins over Atlanta, another victory over Denver, and a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the combined record of those opponents at season’s end was 13-34-1. In hindsight, Hill’s record was good but it was against lesser competition.

Jameis Winston saw limited action with the Saints in 2020

RELATED: Did Sean Payton Just Reveal When Drew Brees Will Retire?

Jameis Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints this past offseason after five seasons in Tampa Bay where his performance was a mixed bag. His 2019 season proved to be a microcosm of his up-and-down career as Winston led the NFL with 5,109 yards, while also topping the league with a staggering 30 interceptions. 

This season in New Orleans, Winston was third on the depth chart behind Hill and played in just four games. The most action he saw was in Week 10 when he completed 6-of-10 for 63 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. According to former NFL receiver and ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson, Winston’s lack of playing time was all by design.

“Sean Payton has seen Jameis Winston, the years at Tampa. And now he’s with him every single day,” Johnson said on NFL Live. “He understands him. He knows him. He’s in the mind. He doesn’t need to display who Jameis Winston is as a quarterback to the rest of the audience. He keeps it in house.”

Payton sends message about Jameis Winston’s future

RELATED: Jameis Winston Is Already Making His Case to Replace Drew Brees in New Orleans

On Wednesday, Sean Payton went on a virtual media tour with various outlets and addressed the 2021 season and what he expects from the quarterback position. With Taysom Hill already under contract, Payton said the organization is focused on re-signing Winston because of what he saw from him this past season.

“Jameis Winston, we know. We had a year with him. He was fantastic as a leader,” Payton told Johnson on the Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show. “Man, he’s got tremendous arm talent. He’s a young prospect that we like a lot. When you have a player for a season, he’s kind of given you a chance to see what he’s about and there’s a little bit of an audition there. The same audition takes place for us. He’s getting a chance to see, hey this is how they do it here. We feel like we’ve got a clean direction as to what we want to do.”

Whether that direction includes Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston starting at quarterback in 2021 only Sean Payton knows. But based on his most recent comments, Winston’s future looks bright in the Crescent City.

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