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NFL free agency: Jameis Winston reportedly returns to Saints on $8M deal

Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jameis Winston is returning to New Orleans as a backup. (Mark J. Rebilas/Reuters)

Jameis Winston is officially a backup.

The former No. 1 draft pick has agreed to return to the New Orleans Saints on a one-year, $8 million deal, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. He'll back up Derek Carr, who joined the Saints last week on a four-year deal after being released by the Las Vegas Raiders.

Winston signed with the Saints in 2020 to back up Drew Brees in his final season. He won the starting job for 2021, but started in just 10 total games over two seasons thanks to injury and performance. Head coach Dennis Allen stuck with Andy Dalton as New Orleans' starter last October after Winston returned healthy from injury.

Jameis Winston headshot
Jameis Winston
QB - CLE - #5
2022 - 2023 season
858
Yds
286
Y/G
64
Comp Pct
4
TD
80.2
QBRat

The move signaled the end of Winston's tenure as a starter in the NFL — for the time being at least. With apparently no starting offers on the table, Winston made the call to return to New Orleans with an $8 million deal in hand.

Winston joined the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 after leading Florida State to a national championship. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and started five seasons in Tampa. With no playoff appearances under Winston and the chance to sign Tom Brady, the Bucs moved on from their former top pick in 2020.