Ranking The Saints Quarterback Options Moving Forward
A bittersweet Halloween for the New Orleans Saints unfolded yesterday at the Caesars Superdome.
The treat? Beating the Buccaneers 36-27.
The trick? Losing quarterback Jameis Winston for the rest of the season to a torn ACL.
At 5-2, the Saints continue to overcome an array of obstacles. Will they overcome the latest one?
What will they do at quarterback?
Sean Payton won't confirm the plans.
They have options, though none are ideal.
I did not include starting rookie Ian Book on the list. If Book was good enough tos tart right now, Trevor Siemian wouldn't be on the roster.
Having said that, some are better than others.
Ranking six potential quarterback decisions, from worst to first.
6. Trade for Texas quarterback DeShaun Watson before Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline.
First of the all, the issues surrounding Watson (22 civil lawsuits against him surrounding sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault allegations from 23 women) already make this the worst option, as well as the most unrealistic.
On top of that, Houston's asking price reportedly forced Miami to pull out of trade discussions with the Texans.
Lastly, the Saints are pressed tight against the salary cap. Watson has three and a half years left on a giant contract, with a current cap hit in 2022 of $40.4 million.
5a and 5b. Check in on Drew Brees and see if he wants to come out of retirement, or do the same with Philip Rivers and see if he wants to leave high school coaching to come back for one more NFL shot.
Contrary to popular belief, Brees has no interest in coming out of the NBC studio/broadcast booth.
The greatest player in franchise history wasn't bad last season, but he was injured, and age 42, is far removed from his prime.
While a Brees comeback would be a great plot for a feel good movie, this isn't the Hallmark Channel.
"I'll be there Saturday to call the Notre Dame-Navy game, and I'll be here Sunday," chuckled Brees last night on NBC when asked if he would return to Saints to replace Winston.
Rivers started 240 straight games before retiring following last season's playoff loss in his one season with the Colts, where he went 11-5 in the regular season.
Rivers may still be able to play at a decent level, despite not being in the NFL since last January, but this feels more like a "break glass in case of emergency option" if New Orleans loses their next two starters due to injury.
Currently the head coach at St. Michael's Catholic in Fairhope, Alabama, his team is 8-3.
4. Sign free agent quarterback Cam Newton
With a great defense, solid offensive line, and a running back tandem of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, perhaps Newton would be a good idea. Bringing him in for a tryout wouldn't hurt.
However, Newton's passing accuracy has trended down in recent years, likely the result of multitude of injuries.
According to Josina Anderson, the Newton option isn't even being considered.
3. Trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater was 5-0 in 2018 for the Saints when filling in for an injured Drew Brees. He played well enough to earn a 3-year contract worth $63 million from the Carolina Panthers.
After one below average season in Carolina, he was traded to the Denver Broncos. At 4-4, the Broncos just traded their best player in to Los Angeles in Von Miller.
Could Bridgewater be available?
It's worth making the call. Denver could also pay the majority of Bridgewater's salary for this season depending on what the Saints are willing to part with in a trade.
The negative - Bridgewater as a game manager is close to what current Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian already brings to the table.
2. Taysom Hill
Hill is expected to be back at practice this week after missing the last three weeks due to a concussion, but will he start at quarterback?
He went 3-1 last season as a starter when Brees was injured. Two of the three wins came against 4-12 Falcons team, with the third win coming against a Broncos team that was forced to start a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback after Denver's entire QB room broke COVID-19 protocols.
The positives - Hill knows the offense, is a superior athlete, and by all indications is loved and respected in the locker room.
The negatives - he struggled in the preseason when competing with Winston for the starting role, hasn't shown an ability to quickly go through each read, and when he plays quarterback, the offense loses his unique playmaking ability at multiple positions.
Hill's swiss army knife role is sorely needed for a New Orleans offense that lacks playmakers at tight end and wide receiver.
1. Trevor Siemian
Siemian being the best option is a reminder that the Saints don't have any great ones. While he's 1 on this list, there's not a large gap between him and 2, 3 and 4.
Siemian showed flashes of good and bad when he checked into the game midway through the 2nd quarter on Sunday.
Despite being blitzed 15 times by a physical Tampa Bay defense, Siemian didn't seemed fazed.
With 26 NFL starts under his belt, and a 14-12 record, Siemian can manage an NFL game, especially for a team with the 4th ranked scoring defense and an offensive line with multiple All-Pros.
Siemian is serviceable.
Serviceable will help this version of the Saints win enough games to reach the postseason.