NEW ORLEANS — NFL Quarterback Jameis Winston expressed his love for New Orleans and for the Saints organization and fanbase in a Wednesday social media post explaining his reasoning for returning to the team.
Winston agreed to a one-year deal with a maximum value of $8 million with the Saints on Monday in a move that surprised many given the Saints signing Derek Carr to a four-year-deal last week.
"In all of my professional career, I've never felt so culturally in tune with a fan base," Winston wrote on social media. "The Saints fans that I've met have been incredible. Y'all have made me and my family feel at home."
Winston, who won the 2013 Heisman Trophy award playing for Florida State in College, was a first overall draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but struggled with turnovers and inconsistent play on the field during his five years there.
He initially signed with the Saints in 2020 to back up Drew Brees, and quickly endeared the Saints fanbase with his humorous antics.
In 2021, after Brees retired, Winston became the team's starting quarterback. Winston started the year on fire, amassing a 5-2 record, 14 touchdowns and 1170 passing yards before missing the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury suffered in week 8.
In 2022, Winston suffered four fractures in his back on the first week of the season. He would only play three games before he missed two weeks due to injury and was replaced by Andy Dalton for the remainder of the 2022 season.
In his social media post, Winston said that he still believes he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he does want to leave a city and organization that he loves.
"That things that lead me here are still here. A stable organization, a championship-caliber team, and a great fan base," Winston said. "This year's team like last year's team is built to win a Super Bowl."
Winston also admitted that he believes getting healthy is more important than his desire to be a starting quarterback.
"Let there be no doubt, I am still a championship-caliber starting quarterback in this league," Winston said. "However, getting healthy and staying healthy is my number one priority and I have suffered three devastating injuries over the last two years."
Winston believes that getting healthy will not only help the Saints for the upcoming season but also help his future starting prospects, regardless of which team he plays for.
The New Orleans Saints have made moves in the offseason to avoid missing the playoffs for a third year in a row.
The additions of Carr and the return of Michael Thomas on a restructured contract indicate that New Orleans has made moves to win an NFC South that sports analysts say has become depleted.
The return of Winston provides the Saints with a solid, albeit historically injury-prone backup option if Carr is injured or underperforms.
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