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Taysom Hill vs. Jameis Winston: What now-retired Drew Brees says about the Saints QB competition

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston (2) and Taysom Hill (7) go through drills during practice at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. Winston and Hill are expected to compete for the Saints’ starting quarterback job in 2021, with Drew Brees retired.
Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

Taysom Hill? Jameis Winston?

In the competition to be the next starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, those are the two leading candidates to replace Drew Brees, the future Hall of Famer who’s been the team’s starting quarterback since 2006.

Now, with Brees announcing his retirement a little over a week ago, there will be a new man leading the Saints offense. Both Hill, the former BYU dual-threat star, and Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, have experience with the organization and bring different style games to the field.

Brees weighed in on the impending competition between the two.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity that both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston have,” Brees said last week during a conference call to discuss his new job with NBC Sports, per the team’s website. “I can’t tell you how much fun we had together as a quarterback room, really a great group of guys, a great group of human beings, guys that really love the game of football, love their teammates. We loved to work hard, we loved to push each other. It was highly competitive (but) at the same time, we were all there to support one another and help one another because we just wanted the team to win.”

Hill recently signed a four-year extension worth $140 million with the team, though all years are voidable in a move that’s meant to help the team save a reported $7.5 million in cap space this season. He started four games in relief of an injured Brees during the 2020 season and led New Orleans to a 3-1 record during that stretch while completing 88 of 121 passes with 928 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 457 yards and eight touchdowns while adding a receiving score.

Winston signed a one-year contract to stay with New Orleans worth up to $12 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Winston completed 7 of 11 passes for 75 yards during the 2020 regular season for the Saints, and he threw a 56-yard touchdown pass in the team’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay. Winston has a more extensive playing resume than Hill, as he was the Buccaneers’ starter for five seasons before joining New Orleans.

“As you saw last year, there were moments where Taysom had to start and did a phenomenal job for four games. There was a moment where Jameis had to come off the bench in the second half of the 49ers game when I had the ribs and the lung injury. He came in and did a phenomenal job,” Brees said of the pair.

“I’ve seen so much growth and maturity from both of those guys, over the last few years for Taysom and then last year for Jameis. We’ll see how it plays out. It sounds like there’s going to be a pretty good quarterback competition, but it’s going to bring out the best in both of them.”