How no preseason will impact Jameis Winston’s value in 2021, and cutting the roster to 80

Not having a preseason will impact players at the bottom of the roster in obvious ways. No one will make the team by making a monster play on special teams during the fourth game.

The more interesting question, in my opinion, is how it impacts Jameis Winston. The quarterback is here to work on his skills and hit the market in a season as a rehabilitated player. But there will be no showcase for the rest of the league. If no one sees him, does his value dramatically increase just based on the strength of playing with the Saints?

Probably not. Teddy Bridgewater had a preseason showcase in 2018 and returned to New Orleans on a contract worth $3.25 million in 2019. That was a choice, and he could have gotten more, but reports said he received an offer worth $10 million over two seasons. I think it is fair to assume that if no one sees Winston this year, he could hit the market and get more than $1 million, but it is unlikely that his market will suddenly explode after having limited options this offseason.

From the Saints perspective, the other thing is that this could create a situation where Winston gets solely judged off of his practices. Who he is at the end of the season will be exactly how the team sees him. Now, this probably would have been true to a large degree no matter what. Still, if Winston had a disastrous preseason, there is always the possibility that could have left a sour taste and been weighed heavily against what occurred in practices.

And sometimes those things happen. A few years back, New Orleans decided to go with kicker Zach Hocker over Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins had a better training camp but missed a kick during the preseason that led to his release.

This could be a good thing for the Saints if they want to take a longer look at Winston and have him again compete with Taysom Hill next summer if Drew Brees decides to retire.

New Orleans will be able to keep him a secret the whole season.

As for the guys trying to make the team, a lot of the time those guys start standing out in practices long before the preseason starts. 

Most people knew wide receiver Willie Snead and cornerback Ken Crawley were pushing for roster spots long before they ever took the field. Teams will just have to trust what happens during practice without the confirmation of game action to make those decisions.

But there is no doubt a few guys who might have made a team during a normal season will miss their chance to shine.

Getting to 80

One of the things that is likely to change this year is the number of players in camp. The talk right now is that rosters could drop to 80 from 90. Do the Saints get rid of a bunch of players they already know about who probably won’t make the team, or do they cut undrafted rookies and go with the known commodities who will at least provide a certain level of competition in camp?

I see about 40 players who are almost guaranteed to make the team, and about 70 total who are worth looking at for a roster spot. There will be a couple of risers, for sure, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find 10 players to cut. Maybe one hooks on somewhere else and ends up making the team, but New Orleans can rest easy knowing it has one of the best rosters in the NFL.

Here are the guys who I think will be brought to camp using guaranteed money for the undrafted rookies as a guide:

Quarterbacks

  • Drew Brees
  • Taysom Hill
  • Jameis Winston
  • Tommy Stevens

Running backs

  • Alvin Kamara
  • Latavius Murray
  • Dwayne Washington
  • Ty Montgomery
  •  Michael Burton
  • Ricky Ortiz

Tight ends 

  • Jared Cook
  • Adam Trautman
  • Josh Hill
  • Garrett Griffin
  • Jason Vander Laan

Wide receivers

  • Michael Thomas
  • Emmanuel Sanders
  • Deonte Harris
  • Emmanuel Butler
  • Austin Carr
  • Krishawn Hogan
  • Lil’Jordan Humphrey
  • Tre’Quan Smith
  • Maurice Harris
  • Marquez Callaway
  • Juwan Johnson

Offensive line

  • Erik McCoy
  • Andrus Peat
  • Terron Armstead
  • Ryan Ramczyk
  • Cesar Ruiz
  • Nick Easton
  • Will Clapp
  • Patrick Omameh
  • Calvin Throckmorton
  • Cameron Tom
  • Jordan Steckler
  • Ethan Greenidge

Defensive line

  • Marcus Davenport
  • David Onyemata
  • Cam Jordan
  • Sheldon Rankins
  • Shy Tuttle
  • Malcom Brown
  • Mario Edwards
  • Carl Granderson
  • Trey Hendrickson
  • Margus Hunt
  • Taylor Stallworth
  • Malcolm Roach

Linebackers

  • Demario Davis
  • Zack Baun
  • Kiko Alonso
  • Alex Anzalone
  • Kaden Elliss
  • Craig Robertson
  • Anthony Chickillo
  • Joe Bachie

Cornerbacks

  • Marshon Lattimore
  • Janoris Jenkins
  • P.J. Williams
  • Patrick Robinson
  • Keith Washington

Safeties

  • Malcolm Jenkins
  • Marcus Williams
  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
  • D.J. Swearinger
  • Saquon Hampton

Special teams

  • Wil Lutz
  • Thomas Morstead
  • Zach Wood
  • J.T. Gray
  • Justin Hardee

That leaves seven spots up for grabs. What will be interesting is if the team starts cutting some known commodities that probably won’t be expected to contribute. The team will also likely look to make sure the numbers allow them to field a certain amount of offenses and defenses during practices.

But the best guess here is that the team will want to get a look at most of these players. If one of the undrafted players or newcomers doesn’t hold up their end, there will be a lot of street free agents available.

UDFA guarantees

Here is how much guaranteed money each UDFA received, according to sources:

LB Joe Bachie — $157,800

WR Marquez Callaway — $95,000

DL Gus Cumberlander — $1,500

CB Tino Ellis — $17,500

P Blake Gillikin — $1,500

WR Juwan Johnson — $85,000

RB Tony Jones Jr. — $50,000

OL Adrian Magee — $500

OT Darrin Paulo — $15,000

DL Malcolm Roach — $95,000

OL Jordan Steckler — $90,000

OL Calvin Throckmorton — $122,500

CB Keith Washington — $95,000

 

 

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