The New Orleans Saints’ future at QB is even more cloudy now than when Drew Brees retired

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NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Saints’ transition to life after quarterback Drew Brees retired has been… yes… more painful than expected.

First, Jameis tore the Winston ACL in his left knee in Week 8 after helping the Saints to a promising 5-2 start. Then, Trevor Siemian went 0-4 as a starting quarterback, in part due to an overwhelming barrage of injuries throughout the lineup around him.

Now, Taysom Hill will take his turn in the rotation Thursday night (20:20 ET, FOX / NFL Network) against the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) – while battling his own long-term foot injury.

The Saints (5-6) could also be without backward Alvin Kamara and offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan ramczyk due to knee injuries. They were all listed as questionable on Wednesday.

Maybe there’s still time to revive their dismal playoff hopes if they recover in December. But New Orleans’ long-term prospects for quarterback will be even more cloudy heading into 2022 than it was when Brees retired in March.

Here is a look at the opportunities and obstacles:

Taysom hill

Hill may not have the best chance for this job in the long run – but he has the next chance. So the 31-year-old could theoretically take it and run with it if he exceeds expectations and leads New Orleans into the playoffs. However, it will be a big task, especially given the health of the Saints’ list and the fact that Hill’s greatest asset – his running ability – could be limited by the partially torn plantar fascia in one of his feet.

Hill lost his first chance at the starting concert when Winston surpassed him in training camp and preseason.

Hill, meanwhile, has just signed a unique four-year contract extension that will pay him a base value of $ 40 million if he stays in his versatile role as part-time QB / RB / TE / WR – and up to $ 95 million if he becomes starting QB and when several high incentives.

Hill showed some potential in 2020 by going 3-1 as a starter while Brees was injured. He was better than expected as a pass player and completed 71.9% of his throws during that span of 834 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also ran the ball 39 times in 209 yards and 4 goals.

Hill, however, lost three fumbles and got into trouble as he held on to the ball for too long as his early readings were not open or his pocket broke.

Hill and coach Sean Payton both need to make better use of his skills over the next six weeks to revive hope for his long-term QB prospects.

Jameis winston

Winston showed his potential before the ACL injury, throwing 14 touchdown passes with three interceptions and one lost fumble – proving he could overcome the turnover problems that derailed his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also ran in 166 yards and his own score. The idea of ​​Winston’s best football has not yet come, still has value.

However, he completed only 59% of his passes and had an average of 186 passing yards in his six complete games while working with New Orleans’ exhausted group of receivers and close ends. Lost passes did not help. But if Winston returns (he will be a free agent in 2022), he will need to be more efficient on short and intermediate routes to be able to cope with his great playing skills.

It remains to be seen whether both sides are interested in a reunion. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, his knee injury will limit his value in free play. It is possible that the Saints could sign him to a one-year, incentive-filled deal for the third year in a row – despite severe salary restrictions.

Trevor Siemian or Ian book

Siemian, who turns 30 this month, has performed better than his record suggests – starting with a win over the Buccaneers in Week 8 after replacing Winston in the second quarter. However, Siemian’s performance declined slightly each week. And he seems better suited to deal with an established offense than rescuing a slingshot. He could certainly return as a backup, but it’s hard to imagine him as the best option.

Likewise, Ian bog showed promise this summer as a rookie draft pick in the fourth round from Notre Dame – especially with his ability to move out of pocket. He could compete for the No. 2 role, but will not go into 2022 as the expected No. 1.

Splash acquisition of a big name QB?

Aaron Rodgers, Russell wilson or Jimmy Garoppolo?

This can definitely not be ruled out – although the Saints already have about $ 270 million in salary cap commitments for 2022, with the ceiling planned to reach a maximum of $ 208.2 million per year. team.

The Saints could actually convert more than $ 90 million in cap space for future years through their usual bookkeeping practices, even if they do not release any players. And we have yet to see any indication that Payton or general manager Mickey Loomis are interested in a full rebuild anytime soon, as they have continued to invest heavily in re-signing current elite players.

Clearly, this is a long shot. The Saints would have to make the highest bid, and they would have to decide that it’s worth investing megamillions in QB despite numerous other pressing needs – starting with the wide receivers and tight ends that any new quarterback will require. At some point, the Saints need to think seriously about rebuilding a roster that includes several standouts 30 years and older (Armstead, defensive end). Cameron jordan, linebacker Demario Davis and security Malcolm Jenkins).

An exciting “in-between” opportunity is the current Denver Broncos and former Saints starter Teddy bridgewater, which is scheduled to be a free agent.

A first-round draft pick?

This would be ideal, but it’s much easier said than done. First, most draft analysts do not see this as a good class for quarterback talent. Second, the Saints could pick outside the top 10 or even the top 20 if they remain competitive down the stretch.

If only they could find their own version of Mac Jones, which fell into the lap of the New England Patriots by 15th election this year.

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