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Sean Payton: Saints have “big interest” in bringing back Jameis Winston

Mike Florio and Peter King predict the headline that will appear Monday morning after Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and Chiefs.

The Buccaneers replaced Jameis Winston with Tom Brady and now they’re playing in Super Bowl LV.

But Winston’s NFL future could still be bright. He signed a one-year deal to be a backup in New Orleans in 2020 and apparently made a lasting positive impression on head coach Sean Payton.

Winston is slated to be a free agent in March. But with Drew Brees reportedly expected to retire, Payton said Wednesday he wants Winston back.

“We had a great exposure for one year with Jameis Winston,” Payton said in an interview with NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday. “And we didn’t have a normal offseason, but we had enough time to see what we had with him as a player, as a leader, as an athlete. I really like what we had a chance to see. He was a tremendous leader for this team, and that’s hard to do when you come in new in free agency your first year as a backup quarterback. So that’ll be an important checkmark for us.

“And a lot of times, you want to hold your cards closer to the vest and he is a free agent. But him, along with Taysom Hill who’s in the building, we’ve said it all along — we’re going to develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”

Winston did not play much in 2020, as Hill started the four games at quarterback that Brees missed due to injury. But Winston did throw a touchdown pass in the Saints’ playoff loss to the Buccaneers.

In 2019 with the Bucs, Winston led the league with 5,109 yards passing but also became the first player to ever throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.