Updated: Feb 28, 2022
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston appears to be on the right track in his ACL recovery, as Just Win Management Group posted a video of Winston doing quarterback dropbacks and footwork drills on Sunday.
With the potential of Mason Rudolph being the Steelers' starting quarterback in 2022, could Winston be a possible free-agent option for the Steelers? He certainly wouldn't cost a ton, and he has experience as a starter. He's also only 28 years old. Jeremy Fowler and Matt Bowen of ESPN both think Winston would be a fit in Pittsburgh. Fowler thinks it makes a lot of sense, but Winston could return to New Orleans, as they have uncertainty at their quarterback position, as well.
"The Saints very well could be a factor here, as they keep most of the offensive staff intact post-Sean Payton," Fowler said. "Pittsburgh has plenty of options, including rolling with in-house passers Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, but if the Steelers eschew the trade market, Winston is a high-pedigree free-agent option who thrives off play-action."
Bowen also thinks Winston would be a nice fit in Matt Canada's offense and would excel in the play-action game. Canada was put in a tough spot last year, as the offense still centered around Ben Roethlisberger and what he liked to do offensively.
"With Winston, we would see the full scheme under coordinator Matt Canada," Bowen said. "That means more motion/movement, under-center play-action and full-field passing concepts on dropback throws. The decision-making with Winston is still a concern, but his arm talent and second-reaction movement ability would fit well here."
In 2019, Winston lead the league in passing with 5,109 yards, 319.3 yards per game, and was second in the NFL with 33 touchdown passes. However, Winston also led the league in interceptions with 30.
Before suffering an ACL injury in Week 8, Winston led the Saints to a 5-2 record and threw for 1,170 yards, completing 59% of his passes and had a 14-3 touchdown-interception ratio, along with a quarterback rating of 102.8.
Winston cost the Saints $5.5 million last year, so Rudolph clearly would be cheaper, but Winston definitely would be a better option as a bridge quarterback until the Steelers find their true heir apparent for Roethlisberger, which would likely be in the 2023 NFL Draft. It would also be better than giving up a second-round pick to the 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo and paying him over $25 million in 2022.