With the likely retirement of Drew Brees, the quarterback options for the New Orleans Saints in 2021 are vast. Several teams are dealing with quarterbacks who want to be traded. Other quarterbacks are free agents. The Saints also already have one potential candidate on the roster and another quarterback who has been with the team also awaits in free agency. This off-season could be historic for the quarterback position. Many players are wanting trades, being supplanted by draft picks, or entering free agency.
Quarterback Options for the New Orleans Saints for 2021 Season
Although there are many quarterbacks available this offseason, most of those players are already on teams. The few quarterbacks who are free agents are very small. This could cause their signing price to rise out of the range for the Saints. New Orleans luckily has a relationship built-in for one of these free agents.
Quarterbacks Available via Free Agency
Jameis Winston, Free Agent
Jameis Winston joined the Saints prior to the 2020 season. Though it was only one season this familiarity with the Saints offense and staff likely makes Winston a favorite to be the Saints starter in 2021. Jameis Winston is a free agent but Sean Payton has expressed his desire to re-sign Winston. The Saints have one of the best front offices in the league so re-signing Winston is likely. The only way this might not get done is if the Saints can get another one of the many available quarterbacks.
Dak Prescott, Free Agent
Although Dak Prescott is technically a free agent, the Dallas Cowboys can still place the franchise tag on him. After the tag is applied, the Cowboys can still trade him if the right offer comes along. If Jerry Jones is ready to move on from Prescott, then the Saints could be a very good spot for the Louisiana native. Prescott played his college football at nearby Mississippi State University as well. Prescott coming off of a gruesome ankle injury might hurt his chances at a large contract in some circles, but the Saints are known for taking a chance on injured quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks Potentially Available via Trade
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson has expressed his frustration with the Houston Texans front office and has expressed his desire for a trade. The Texans could reject this since Watson is under contract through the 2025 season. Watson is only 25 years old and is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Watson threw for a career high in yards and has his highest completion percentage in 2020. The issue is trade capital might not be available for Saints to acquire such a prolific passer.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Sam Darnold could be a victim of the NFL draft. The New York Jets own the second overall pick in the 2021 draft which has many highly regarded quarterbacks. Darnold floundered under Adam Gase during his career. Working under a Sean Payton offense could revitalize his career.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
This is a very recent development. Much like Watson and the Texans, Russell Wilson has expressed his frustration with his front office. Wilson has allegedly criticized the Seattle Seahawks front office for not protecting him better. The offensive line for the Seahawks has consistently been an issue. The Saints boast one of the league’s best offensive lines which might make the Saints a prime candidate for Wilson. But tade capital would likely also be an issue for such a high-profile player.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz is another quarterback who is unhappy with his current team. The difference between Wentz and several of these other teams is that the Philadelphia Eagles already have a potential starting quarterback in place. Jalen Hurts replaced Wentz towards the end of the 2020 season and played well. Wentz has struggled in recent seasons so a trade could be doable for the Saints.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr has been a name that has recently appeared in trade talks. Much of this speculation appears to be coming from Carr’s brother. But the Saints would probably be better off with many of the other names on the list as they have more upside. Carr has not developed into a top-tier quarterback in his time with Jon Gruden and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Quarterbacks Potentially Available in NFL Draft
Mac Jones, University of Alabama
Mac Jones has most likely parlayed his success at Alabama into being a first-round draft pick in the 2021 draft. The New Orleans Saints reportedly met with Jones during the Senior Bowl. Jones has not been predicted to be amongst the top of the quarterback class in the draft. Mac Jones had one great year with a record-setting Alabama offense. The lack of experience and possibly being inflated by the Alabama skill position players could hurt Jones’ draft stock. The Saints first pick is not until 28th in the first round. If Jones does last until then, it will be interesting to see if the Saints take him off the board.
Kyle Trask, University of Florida
Another intriguing quarterback that will probably be available late in the first round or in the second round will be Florida product, Kyle Trask. Trask was a two-year starter for Florida, and improved in his second year starting. Both his number of touchdowns and completion percentage got better during the 2020 season. Trask threw for over 4,000 yards during his senior campaign. He also finished fourth in the Heisman race. Standing at six-foot-five and 240 pounds, Trask has the size needed for the NFL.
Quarterback Options for New Orleans Saints
All of this speculation could be for nothing. If Drew Brees decides to return to the team, Payton and the organization will continue to try and win with the veteran. Internally, if the Brees decision is already known, the Saints could already be examining quarterback options. Taysom Hill is also still under contract for the Saints. If Sean Payton believes that Hill can be the full-time starter, then it is possible none of these quarterbacks are on the Saints radar. With all these moving pieces, this off-season for quarterbacks is likely to be historic.