Browns Eyeing Former No. 1 Pick as New QB Option - Sport News

Browns Eyeing Former No. 1 Pick as New QB Option

The Cleveland Browns are eyeing Jameis Winston to fill their backup quarterback spot, which could be bad news for Joe Flacco.

The quarterback dominoes are starting to fall into place after the first day of free agency. The most significant move that affected the Browns was Jacoby Brissett agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal with the New England Patriots.

Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns are interested in Jameis Winston as their backup QB.

Brissett played in Cleveland during the 2022 season and was high on their list in terms of backup options. He instead joins former Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in New England.

Many assumed Brissett being off the board meant Flacco returning to the Browns was imminent. But the news of Cleveland showing interest in Winston throws a potential monkey wrench into the mix.

Ben Volin of The Boston Globe first reported the Browns’ interest in Winston.

“Some other QB buzz I’m hearing: Sam Darnold is weighing offers between the Vikings and Broncos, and the Browns are interested in Jameis Winston as a backup,” Volin tweeted.

Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com built on that report. She added a tidbit from a source who said, “The two quarterbacks have a great relationship and would work well together,” in reference to Deshaun Watson and Winston.

Winston is not officially a free agent. He took a $100,000 bonus in 2023 to push back the trigger dates on his contract. The New Orleans Saints have until March 16 to decide on Winston — whether to release him or negotiate a new deal.

Browns Can’t Offer Jameis Winston Starting Role
Jameis Winston has a solid relationship with current Browns starting QB Deshaun Watson.

 

Winston has liked playing in New Orleans but is also open to other opportunities.

“I would love to stay in NOLA forever,” Winston recently told WDSU. “But whatever the Lord has planned for me, I’m going to go and do my best, wherever that is. Hopefully it’s here, because I love this, I love the energy, and I love this city.”

ESPN’s Katherine Terrell reported in February that Winston would like to pursue a starting role somewhere. The Browns can’t offer Winston a starting role. That belongs to Watson, who is on a $240 million fully guaranteed contract. But Watson is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery and his health is a question mark heading into next season.

Winston has passed for 22,104 yards, 141 touchdowns and 99 interceptions in his career. He has a 34-46 record as a starter and made the Pro Bowl in 2015 as a rookie.

Jameis Winston Could be Boost for Browns’ Locker Room

Jameis Winston could be a good locker room presence for the Browns.

Winston was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He’s spent the last four seasons with the Saints, mostly as a backup. He’s 30 years old and his last contract was just for $4 million. That’s in the price range for the Browns, who want to add a veteran option behind Watson.

Winston made some headlines at the end of last season. Up 41-17 with just over a minute left, Winston seemingly went rogue, overriding the play call. Winston called a run for Jamaal Williams rather than kneeling the clock out. Williams scored, angering the Atlanta Falcons.

It was a controversial move but all of Winston’s teammates had his back.

“This man is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Saints TE Jimmy Graham said on X. “Loves this city, this game and embodies everything you can ask for in a leader. Was a rare situation and we all take responsibility. Nobody thought it would get blown out of proportion.”

Winston could be a solid addition to the Browns locker room. But the same could be said for Flacco, who won his teammates and the city over during his 4-1 stint as the starter last season.

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