Quarterback Jameis Winston is due to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Winston, 27, underwent surgery in November on his left knee to repair a torn ACL and managed MCL.
Prior to Winston’s injury, he led the New Orleans Saints to a 5-2 record, throwing for 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
That Saints (5-7) have lost five consecutive games in Winston’s absence.
Here are three NFL teams Winston could play for in 2022:
3. New Orleans Saints
The Saints could look to re-sign Winston.
However, Winston will likely garner a higher salary than the one-year, $5.5 million incentive-laced deal he signed for the 2021 season.
It might be wise for Saints general manager Mickey Loomis to offer Winston a similar incentive-laced deal, especially considering the franchise ranks last in the NFL with about $61.26 million over the salary cap in 2022.
When Winston signed with the Saints in 2020, he became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead the NFL in passing yards (5,109 yards in the 2019 season) to then play for a new team the following season.
The reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided not to re-sign Winston was his propensity for turnovers and his infamous “30 for 30” season in 2019.
Winston was the ultimate feast or famine quarterback, throwing for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his final season with the Buccaneers.
If the Saints don’t re-sign Winston or look for a quarterback in free agency, they could also draft a rookie.
Entering Week 14 of the 2021 season, the Saints would have the 10th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
2. Denver Broncos
Journeyman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is in the final year of his contract and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Plus, third-year player Drew Lock hasn’t developed how the Broncos had hoped, losing the starting quarterback position battle to Bridgewater before the start of the 2021 season.
Lock, 25, will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2022.
In the offseason, the Broncos are projected to have $48.09 million to spend, so signing Winston could be an option.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger, 39, is in his 18th season for the Steelers and the final year of his contract.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that the 2021 season will be Roethlisberger’s final NFL season.
Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer, but the Steelers lost five of their last six games to end the 2020 season and are hanging by a thread in the AFC playoff hunt with a 6-6-1 record.
It’s clear backup quarterback Mason Rudolph isn’t Big Ben’s heir considering he tied the Detroit Lions this season and he got benched in the 2019 season in favor of Devlin “Duck” Hodges, who is now in the CFL.
Rudolph is the only Steelers quarterback under contract beyond the 2021 season.
Dwayne Haskins serves as the team’s third-stringer and Josh Dobbs is on the injured-reserve list.
Finding a suitable replacement for Roethlisberger should be a main priority for general manager Kevin Colbert in the offseason, especially considering the Steelers are due to have about $43.72 million in salary-cap space.
If the Steelers decide to draft a rookie quarterback, they are due to have the 15th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft as of Saturday night.
Editor’s Note: Salary cap projections are based on figures courtesy of Spotrac.com.