NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Take One: 2020 comes before 2021
We’re in 2020. Not 2021. And in 2020, the Saints belong to Drew Brees. So while the quarterback debate with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston is fun to discuss, it’s still a year away, if it happens at all.
The hypothetical involving Brees missing time is understandable given his age and that it happened last season. However, 2019 was definitely an outlier in his career. Certainly no one should be pulling for that to happen. It’s Brees, not Winston nor Hill, that gives the Saints the best chance to win a Super Bowl in 2020.
And winning a ring next season, above all else, is what’s most important to the organization.
Take Two: Both players bring intrigue and concern
Being all-in on either Hill or Winston at this time is foolish. Both players have intriguing and concerning traits.
With Hill it’s simply a matter of we’ve never seen it. All we have are random spurts of him playing quarterback. Every thing else about his future is strictly anecdotal from the head coach. It started with Troy Aikman relaying a story on a broadcast about Sean Payton’s fascination with Hill a few years back. Then, there was the Steve Young comparison. Those were just the ones that went public, there have been more. Payton has talked Hill up so much that it’s led to a curiosity, but he didn’t start him when Brees went down in 2019. So until he’s actually playing the position full-time, there’s always going to be rightful skepticism.
With Winston, it’s the exact opposite. All the doubts come from what he’s done on the field. He’s been a starter since the day he entered the league and has been all over the map. His good was great, but his bad was terrible and that was with significant talent around him in Tampa Bay. When his tenure there was over, there were more L’s than W’s. That’s just reality. Of course it wasn’t all his fault, but he did play a role. With the Saints he’ll have a chance to learn and improve his decision-making. However, just assuming his erratic play will disappear because he wears black and gold now is not smart either. Until he demonstrates his growth on the field when it counts, there will be legitimate concern on giving him the keys to the franchise.
Take Three: Contract matters
In the simplest of terms, one player is under contract for 2021; one player is not.
The number Hill got from the Saints is not any old contract. Remember, they didn’t have to give it to him at all. It does suggest the Saints see him as having a future as more than just the gadget guy… to a point. It says they love him as a football player and believe he can be a a quarterback, but they’re not completely all -in until he proves it.
In Winston’s case, he only signed a one-year deal, so there’s no guarantee he returns in 2021. Of course, if the Saints believe in him they could bring him back much like they did with Teddy Bridgewater. Or, who knows, maybe Winston’s stock resurges, and he wants to go to a spot where he’s guaranteed to be the guy and gets a contract that reflects from another club.
There’s still a legitimate chance this competition never even comes to fruition.
Take Four: Drafting/signing another quarterback in 2021 still a possibility
Given all the things just mentioned, is it really that crazy to say Payton would elect to also draft a quarterback in 2021? What if a big name veteran suddenly becomes available next season?
As we’ve laid out both Hill and Winston have intrigue and concern. To me, it’s entirely possible that Payton would at least consider what’s behind door number three whenever that time comes.
Take Five: Other Observations
- Of course all of this debate is operating with the assumption that Brees is retiring after this season. There’s a strong chance that’s going to happen, but until Brees officially retires, there’s a chance he could return.
- Bottom line, it’s way too early to call either Hill or Winston the heir apparent to Drew Brees. In the year-to-year existence of the NFL so much can change. If this battle does happen, it will be settled on the field through genuine competition.