The Saints made an all-in push to land former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson but missed on the opportunity after he chose the Cleveland Browns. The move was a bit of a shock, considering the Browns were informed the day before the trade was finalized that they were out of the running, and the two teams still in play were the Saints and the Falcons.
The cost to acquire Watson was steep but worth it. The Saints would have had to give up multiple first-round picks and likely two defensive cornerstones. The Saints now have moved on to secure quarterback Jameis Winston for two more seasons. The move gives the Saints time to draft a quarterback or try again to sign or trade for one after the upcoming season.
This year’s NFL Draft Class is considered very low on quarterbacks, one of the lesser classes at the position in over a decade. There are prospects with high ceilings that could develop over time, but none that I think could start week one for any team. Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are the two quarterbacks that I would consider high ceiling prospects, and both would need a few seasons to learn the NFL play style.
Jimmy Garoppolo is set to become a free agent after next season. Derek Carr may also become available, although the likelihood is slim that a new deal isn’t done with the Raiders on a long-term contract before the start of the season. Baker Mayfield is the other option that might become available, but there is an assumption throughout the league that he would be traded soon and could sign a new deal with a new team.
There are options for the Saints, and even after losing out on landing Deshaun Watson, they are not dead in the water in the NFC South. The Falcons traded away Matt Ryan, the Buccaneers have Tom Brady, but their defense has been gutted, and the Panthers are still shopping Christian McCaffrey and have not settled on a quarterback for next season. This might be the division that comes down to the last game of the year to decide the division title and the division with the least wins average among the four teams. The Draft is a month away, and things could again change after its conclusion. Stay tuned.