As Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints are reportedly nearing a one-year contract agreement, Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland is confident it’ll be a mutually beneficial pact.
“It’s a compliment to Jameis Winston to understand where he’s at in this world and sign a one-year deal here and learn behind Drew [Brees,]” Ireland said on “The Matt Mosley Show” on ESPN Central Texas radio . “Look, there’s no better teacher. If Drew never said a word to him, he would observe more than he’ll ever learn in football just by learning how Drew does things. He’s an incredible leader. He’s an incredible studier of the game, how he breaks down his opponents.
“And then you throw in [offensive coordinator] Pete Carmichael, [quarterbacks coach] Joe Lombardi and [coach] Sean Payton on the offensive side of the ball and those creative minds — Jameis Winston will learn more football in a year than he has in his lifetime.”
A year ago, Teddy Bridgewater signed with the Saints to back up Brees over a chance to start with the Dolphins. Bridgewater started and won five games when Brees injured his thumb and then cashed in with a three-year, $63 million deal with the Panthers this offseason.
The Saints reaffirmed their belief that backup quarterback Tayson Hill is capable of succeeding Brees when they signed him to a two-year, $21 million contract on Sunday. Having made it clear throughout this offseason that they intend to sign a veteran backup quarterback, the Saints seem to believe that Winston fits the bill. Signing Winston, whom Tom Brady replaced on the Buccaneers, would allow New Orleans to continue using Hill as a multi-position player.
Winston, 26, could also end up in the running to be the 41-year-old Brees’ successor or utilized as trade bait to secure a draft pick.
“It really probably won’t be too much different than last year,” Ireland said of last year’s roster with Brees, Hill and Teddy Bridgewater, who appeared in five games while Brees was injured before signing with the Panthers. “We feel like [Hill] can start in the league at some point when it’s his turn, and that’s obviously why we invested in him. But we also need a No. 2 to really utilize [Hill’s] skill set and his upside to the full extent of his ability. … We can’t do those things [with Hill] if we don’t have a solid No. 2.”
Brees is expected to retire after this season and, as The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported, will move into a role as an NBC Sports analyst.