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Jameis Winston contract reveals some priorities

Jameis Winston signed a relatively inexpensive contract with the Saints. We break down what the details might mean.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints talks on the field after the game with Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints signed quarterback Jameis Winston to a one-year contract this past weekend, and the details allow us to make some inferences about what Winston wants out of this. Winston’s deal has a base value of $1.1 million, with a $148,000 signing nonus, $952,000 in base salary, and $3.4 million in incentives, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Considering Drew Brees is locked in as the starter, it will likely be difficult for Winston to hit many of the incentives if Brees stays healthy. As Yates noted, it would appear Winston prioritized the chance to learn and grow as a player.

Winston will be competing with Taysom Hill, who signed a two-year contract worth $21 million. The Saints have been bullish on Hill’s chances to eventually replace Brees, but Winston has a more significant track record. Of course, Winston’s lengthier record brings both good and bad. He is a big play threat with a history of poor decision-making so there is a ton of upside and downside with him.

It’s difficult to tell what 2021 will bring for Winston. Brees might retire after this season, but even that is not clear. Even if he does, Hill is the one under contract for 2021. But Winston would seem to think there is value in spending at least a year learning behind Brees.