NEW ORLEANS — The Saints have offered quarterback Jameis Winston a restructured deal to remain with the team through the 2023 season as the backup quarterback to Derek Carr, according to a report from ESPN.
Winston signed a two-year deal worth $28 million with the Saints in the 2022 offseason, with the belief that he'd be the team's starting quarterback during the 2022 season. After three rocky starts and a lingering back injury sustained in Week 1, Winston was benched in favor of veteran Andy Dalton, who started the team's remaining 14 games.
With no restructured deal, Winston would be a $15.6 million salary cap hit this season. Because of this, the belief is that the Saints will release him if he doesn't agree to the new deal. Winston may also opt to decline the deal if he feels he can compete for a starting job elsewhere.
If Winston is released, he would count $11.2 million against the salary cap in dead money, while the team would save $4.4 million in cap space.
The Saints could also designate Winston as a post-June 1 cut, which would save them $12.8 million in cap space, but would make them responsible for paying Winston's entire $15.6 million salary until June 2, which would inhibit the team's ability to sign free agents.
Winston joined the Saints as Drew Brees' backup in 2020 after being drafted first overall and spending the first five years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After Brees' retirement, Winston became the starter after wining a quarterback competition with Taysom Hill prior to the 2021 season.
After a promising 4-2 start, Winston tore his ACL in the team's 2021 Week 7 game against the Buccaneers after linebacker and LSU alum Devin White violently tackled him from behind on a scramble.
Winston has until Wednesday, when the new league year begins, to accept the offer.