After five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that featured plenty of yards, but also plenty of turnovers, including a 30-INT season in 2019, Winston joined the Saints as Drew Brees’ backup in an attempt to rebuild his image under Sean. Payton. After attempting 11 passes in four games in 2020, Winston started seven games in 2021 before getting hurt. In 2022, he started the season again as a starter but lasted only three games before another injury occurred.
Last season, even after Winston was cleared, coach Dennis Allen had Andy Dalton as his starter. Then New Orleans signed Carr this offseason to be the starter, despite Winston’s presence.
“Everybody’s on a different journey in this league. But it’s challenging to be a quarterback in the NFL. And when you have an opportunity to be a starter in the NFL, you want to make the most of it. I’ve just had some unfortunate injuries as a result . for the past three years, so this is where I’m at. But it’s not what I see in the immediate future. But where I am right now is focusing on getting healthy, focusing on therefore taking advantage of this opportunity I have to serve Derek [Carr]to serve this team and serve this organization the best I can.”
Winston’s decision to be the clear backup behind a QB who hasn’t missed a game due to injury in five seasons instead of going to a spot where he would have a better chance at the starting gig was somewhat surprising. However, the 29-year-old said he preferred familiarity at this stage of his career rather than starting over.
“It’s just very familiar,” Winston said. “I trust this organization, I believe in this team we have a great defense, a great offense. And last year we had a lot of opportunities to break some plays, but with Derek coming in I think he’s going to come a lot of good things for this team.”
Barring injury, Winston won’t see the field much this season in New Orleans. With the Saints drafting Jake Haener as a developmental QB, this could be Winston’s last season in the Bayou. Then he will set off to see if the rest of the NFL thinks he has starting value or is a career backup.