Sports

NFL free agency 2022: Saints sign Andy Dalton as likely backup to Jameis Winston


With the decision made by Deshaun Watson to pass on the New Orleans Saints, the team was left to pivot to contingency plans as it attempts to sort out its quarterback room for 2022. That first involved re-signing a familiar face in Jameis Winstonwho inked a two-year, $28 million deal last week — and they’ve now presumably located his backup. The nod goes to Andy Dalton, the veteran QB having signed a reported one-year deal worth $6 million that includes $3 million guaranteed, per ESPN.

Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowler who is again looking to reestablish value for himself after a second consecutive season of having failed to do so. Following his divorce from the Cincinnati Bengals, a move that cleared the path for the arrival for Joe Burrow, he’d join the Dallas Cowboys as backup to Dak Prescott in 2020, but that morphed into Dalton taking the starting role when Prescott suffered a season-ending fractured ankle.

Things ended poorly in that union when Dalton imploded in a must-win regular-season finale against the New York Giants, resulting in the Cowboys not offering him another deal in 2021; and Dalton went on to join the Chicago Bears. In doing so, he was promised by head coach Matt Nagy that he’d be QB1, and was, despite the team using their first-round pick on Justin Fields. Nagy would eventually relent and allow Fields to take the reins, but now both Nagy and Dalton are out of Chicago.

In joining the Saints, Dalton has a real shot at seeing the field if Winston — who is returning from a torn ACL — has a setback or new injury, something New Orleans hopes doesn’t happen but is actively preparing for the possibility of with the signing of Dalton. 

With do-it-all talent Taysom Hill reportedly waving the white flag on attempting to prove he can compete at the QB position, the QB depth chart is now owned by Winston and Dalton, although you could also sprinkle in the development of former fourth-round pick Ian Book (although, if they were currently sold on Book being ready, they would not sign Dalton) and the signing of former third-overall pick Blake Bortles this offseason. 

Adding Dalton might make Bortles expendable, but the Saints will likely let the QB2 situation sort itself out in training camp, with Dalton taking an early lead behind Winston.





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