Who will be the Saints quarterback in 2021?

Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It seems all but certain that Drew Brees will be retiring, leaving the Saints with a big question mark at the quarterback position. Fortunately, there is an abundance of quarterbacks looking for new homes this offseason. Unfortunately, the Saints are currently $112 million over the cap. The team must decide if they want to cut some key players to sign a big-name quarterback — or take what they can get to keep their loaded roster intact.

Best Option

Over The Cap laid out how the Saints can get around $20 million under the cap. If you are more interested in the cap situation, you can check it out right here. Assuming that the Saints can get $20 million in spending money, their best option at quarterback would be Matthew Stafford.

Stafford’s contract is the most team-friendly out of the potential reputable trade candidates. He is set to make $43 million in the next two years and will most likely be looking for an extension — which would give the Saints some wiggle room with their cap situation.

The biggest hurdle that the Saints would face in their pursuit for Stafford is the number of other teams competing for him. Adam Schefter reported that the Lions are looking for a minimum of a first-round pick for Stafford. With the 28th pick in the draft, the Saints have the lowest first-round pick out of any team that would be interested in Stafford. Too, New Orleans would most likely have to put up extra assets to compensate. Even then, the pot might be too big for the Saints to handle.

Some might wonder, what about Deshaun Watson or Dak Prescott? Well, refer back to the cap situation. Getting the Saints to $20 million under the cap would already require releasing starting position players and then trying to restructure contracts for Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, and Michael Thomas. They would be lucky to clear enough space just to attempt to trade for Stafford. Deshaun Watson’s contract earns him north of $30 million per year and is expected to require a much heftier load of draft capital that the Saints do not have. Dak Prescott, on the other hand, is a free agent. However, CBS has reported that Dak is expected to make up to $40 million per year.

Realistic Option

The reasonable choice for the Saints is to nominate a player already in-house. Sean Payton has shown that his team does not need an elite quarterback to win games. Last year when Drew Brees got injured, Teddy Bridgewater started and won the five games that Brees was out. This year, when Brees lost all of his ribs, Taysom Hill stepped in and was able to win two out of the three games he started.

Jameis Winston is set to become a free agent this offseason, but CBS has reported that Sean Payton is eager to re-sign Jameis. Re-upping with Jameis is a cheaper option than Stafford — and would allow the Saints to maintain more of their starting players.

If New Orleans wishes to continue their offensive scheme, Jameis should be their starter over Hill. Hill spent 44% of his offensive snaps as a wide receiver, 32% as a tight end, and only 16% at quarterback. If Taysom is to start, it would limit their playbook and restrict their offensive creativity, in theory.

The Saints opinion on this quarterback quandary is undetermined. With the amount of debt they hold now, though, the team will be lucky just to have a quarterback on their roster.