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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 22, 2020
The New Orleans Saints spent a good chunk of change Sunday to secure the most versatile player in the NFL, but it looks like they still have another win-win Winston deal in the works.
Indeed, the rich appear to be getting richer.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the Saints are close to agreeing on a one-year contract with Jameis Winston, who, rather incredibly, nobody else wanted (at least not badly enough) despite the fact that last season he became just the fourth player to throw for at least 5,109 yards (the others being, ahem, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning) while also becoming the first ever to reach the 30 mark in both touchdown passes and interceptions.
Understandably, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted to go with Brady, but it’s dumbfounding that no other team would give the 26-year-old former first overall pick a shot at winning its starter’s job, especially after those 2019 numbers, even with the well-documented un-Saint like issues he’s had in his personal life.
Winston, in fact, has a battle on his hands to claim the No. 2 job in New Orleans. In wrapping up their weekend’s work, the Saints settled on terms with Taysom Hill, who they will give $21 million over two years, including $16 million guaranteed.
Hill confirmed he had a deal on Instagram while expressing how grateful he is to “play with and for some of the best men I’ve ever known.” The guys who run the show were already going to have to do some shuffling to appease the 29-year-old who was previously scheduled to make $4.6 million, which would have left the Saints with just $3.5 million cap space.
And that means if he does choose to live in Louisiana, Winston won’t be getting a sliver of the $21 million he made last season.
Still, it’s a sweet landing spot. Not only do the Saints add some extra insurance for their 41-year-old superstar when they are expected to be a top contender for the Super Bowl, but it’s a huge win for Winston, assuming he has the right attitude.
He should be able to learn a lot from Brees, who has thrown more completions, more touchdown passes, and for more yardage than any quarterback in history. And with Brees expected to settle into the NBC broadcast booth after 2021, he could be left to wrestle Hill for the No. 1 job.
If not, it figures another team will be desperately knocking on his door by then, much the same way the Carolina Panthers pursued and landed Brees’ last backup, Teddy Bridgewater, with a big-money ticket.
The Saints love Hill, who wants to become their quarterback almost as much as they think he can. But in the meantime, the 6-foot-2, 221-pounder will continue to wear his many hard hats as the gunner on their kicking team, a running back, a receiver who lines up like a tight end, and a capable passer who has become a favourite of coach Sean Payton.
“Sean’s been really clear, and I think we’ve all been really clear, that we love the prospect of Taysom Hill and what he might be able to do for us in the future,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis said before Saturday’s selections, when asked whether the team considered taking a quarterback with one of its top three picks at the draft. “Obviously, Drew is back, so it’s a strong room again for us. I didn’t feel like this was a must position in this draft, and yet if someone would’ve fell to us in the right spot, we could have easily taken him.”
Later, the Saints traded back to take hulking (6-foot-5, 230-pound) Mississippi State QB Tommy Stevens in the seventh round. After a year in the same quarterback room and on the same practice field as Brees, he’ll be as good as a third-rounder.
Yes, the rich will be richer when Winston becomes a Saint. But in a quarterback-powerful NFC South that now boasts the two best of all-time — as well as a Falcons team with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Todd Gurley, and the new-look Panthers led by Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey — it was the kind of move that was needed to maintain its top-seed status.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
As the 82nd pick in the draft, Ottawa’s Neville Gallimore is in some exceptional company. This, he realized upon receiving a Twitter message from the a guy who was selected in the same spot 41 years earlier. “Believe me, being the 82nd pick ain’t so bad,” it said. “But don’t let where you were chosen define you — be a sponge, soak up everything. Work hard and when your chance comes, show ’em what you can do!” The message was from Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who was selected 82nd in 1979, then went on to win four Super Bowls, two MVPs and earn eight Pro Bowl selections. It’s not like they were drafted by the same organization. Montana was a pick of the 49ers, Gallimore was drafted by the Cowboys. That was a pretty cool gesture by the man they called “Joe Cool.” … A much wiser football mind than mine wondered if there’s a chance the Saints want the quarterback who played for what should be their toughest divisional rival at least partly for inside information they could use against Bruce Arians offence. Would you be surprised? Not I … Every single time in the last month that Brady has done a video conference call or anything else that shows his face, it’s impossible not to notice the sunburn. Clearly the GOAT has more to learn about Tampa than Arians’ system.
THIRD AND LONG
What are the Patriots thinking? A total of 13 quarterbacks were drafted, and of his 10 selections the Bill Belichick took exactly zero. Belichick said the “right situation” just didn’t present itself. “Didn’t work out the last three days,” Belichick, who did sign Louisiana Tech QB J’Mar Smith as undrafted rookie free agent, told ESPN.com. “That wasn’t by design. We just tried to do the best we could with what we had.” Because they also didn’t make a trade, that means Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are still the top two candidates to succeed the legendary Brady. The 34-year-old Hoyer has started 38 games in 11 NFL seasons, during which he has played for seven different teams. His career record is 16-22. Stidham was a fourth rounder in 2019. As a rookie, he played in three games and completed two of four passes. “Jarrett had a good year last year,” said Belichick, clearly meaning in practice. “He improved a lot. We’ll see where that takes him.” Again, was are the Patriots thinking? … Packers coach Matt LeFleur can’t imagine he’ll have a quarterback problem on his hands. Unlike just about everybody else, he believes Aaron Rodgers will embrace his ultimate successor, Jordan Love, who Green Bay selected 26th overall. “He is the one that leads us out there,” LeFleur said of Rodgers, via ESPN.com. “I know he’s going to be a great mentor.” LeFleur said he thinks the 35-year old Rodgers will be the Packers starter “for a really long time,” which is exactly what No. 12 himself believes. In March, Rodgers told ESPN he’s a “realist” when it was mentioned that the Packers would draft a quarterback, then added: “I’m confident he’s not going to beat me out anytime soon.” He’s probably right, but there’s just no way the transition will be a smooth one.
Oakville’s Michael Hoecht, a Brown University defensive lineman, confirmed on his Twitter page that he has signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams. A 300-pounder who ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash during a virtual workout in March, Hoecht spent a season with the Ottawa Nepean Canadians when he was a kid. “He played third base like a budding defensive tackle,” remembered Don Campbell, who coached the Canadians at the time. “He played the game very aggressively.” … You knew this was coming. Proving the world is starved for live sports, the NFL set TV viewing records over the three days, the league said. An average audience of 15.4 million watched Round 1, which was up 37% from 2019, while more than 8.2 million watched Rounds 2-3 on Friday (up 40%) and Saturday’s coverage drew more than 4.2 million viewers (up 32%) .. Chiefs GM Brett Veach reiterated on Sunday that he wants to sign both QB Patrick Mahomes and DL Chris Jones to long-term deals. “I would like to think we’re fairly confident, and we have a lot time,” Veach said, via a team transcript. “(They’re) cornerstones in this organization. Now that (the draft) is behind us here, we have a window now that we can kind of reset as an organization.”
THE END RUSH
Before he was selected first overall, Joe Burrow received a text from legendary hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky. “He did,” Burrow confirmed to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “I showed it to my dad and I think he almost fainted.” Burrow’s father, Jim, was a defensive back with the Calgary Stampeders when The Great One was winning Cups in Edmonton … You’ve heard the baseball term “back-to-back jacks”? The Chicago Bears have back-to-back Macks. On Saturday, the Bears made University of Buffalo edge rusher Ladarius Mack one of the eight undrafted free agents they signed. Mack is the younger brother of Bears rush end Khalil Mack, who also did his schooling in Buffalo. In 2019, Ladarius showed off his big play capabilities with eight sacks, 12 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles. “That’s definitely something that we’re looking forward to,” GM Ryan Pace told the Chicago Sun-Times of having Khalil’s baby brother at camp. “It’s something that worked out for us. It will be unique having two brothers on the same team.”
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