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Odds to Be Saints’ Starting Quarterback Week 1 of 2021 NFL Season – Hill, Winston, Brees, or Someone Else?

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in NFL Football

Jan 19, 2021 · 3:48 PM PST

New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill warming up
New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Chicago Bears in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
  • Odds have been posted on who will be the New Orleans Saints’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2021 season
  • Backup Taysom Hill is favored to become the starter as Drew Brees is expected to retire
  • A look at the odds and analysis of the situation can be found below

Despite many reports to the contrary, Drew Brees says he has not yet decided if he will retire.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback certainly looked and sounded like a player at the end of the line following Sunday’s 30-20 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC divisional round playoff game.

Brees talked about his career in the past tense during his postgame teleconference with the media. He was also spotted with his family on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf nearly two hours after the game had ended.

Oddsmakers believe there is a good chance Brees’ career is over. They list him as just the third choice to be the Saints’ starting quarterback to begin the 2021 season.

Odds to Start at QB for the Saints in 2021

Player Odds
Taysom Hill +105
Jameis Winston +130
Drew Brees +350
Ryan Fitzpatrick +1800
Tyrod Taylor +1900
Kyle Trask +2100
Trey Lance +2300
Mac Jones +2500
Zach Wilson +3000

Odds taken Jan. 19.

No Official Word Yet

Brees has one more year left on his contract but said Sunday he wanted time to reflect before deciding whether to come back for another season. The NFL career leader in passing yards did not provide a timetable or even a hint for when he might make the decision.

The 42-year-old looked his age against the Buccaneers as he had the worst performance of the 18 playoff starts in his career. He completed just 19 of 34 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted three times.

Brees had never thrown as many as three picks in a postseason game. In fact, the last time Brees threw three interceptions was in 2016 when he did so in back-to-back weeks.

To put that further into perspective, Brees threw had just six interceptions in 390 attempts during the 2020 regular season and none in 39 passes in the wild card win over the Chicago Bears.

Brees said two of the interceptions came on forced throws as he was trying to make something happen. YHee clearly looked befuddled by the Buccaneers’ pass defense, which ranked just 21st among the 32 NFL teams in the regular season.

In-House Options

Brees missed significant time during the regular season for the second straight year. He sat out four games after sustaining a punctured lung and multiple cracked ribs when sacked in Week 10 during a win over the San Francisco 49ers.

In a mild surprise, coach Sean Payton chose Taysom Hill – football’s version of baseball’s super utility player and known more for his running ability – to start in Brees’ place rather. Payton passed over Jameis Winston, who led the NFL in passing yardage in 2019 while with the Buccaneers.

The Saints went 3-1 with Hill as the starter as he completed 71.9% of his passes for 834 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. Hill is favored to be the starter on opening day next season.

Those were the first starts of Hill’s four-year career. He has more touches (181) as rusher and receiver than passes attempted (134) since entering the NFL.

Though Winston finished the game in which Brees was injured, he did not win Payton’s trust. While Winston threw a 56-yard touchdown pass on a trick play last Sunday, he had just 11 attempts in four games during the regular season.

The Buccaneers opted for the 43-year-old Brady this season even though Winston threw for 5,109 yards in 2019. However, Winston’s 33 TDs passes were offset by a league-high 30 picks.

Major Cap Problems

Bringing in a veteran quarterback through a free agency or trade would be a longshot.

The Saints are nearly $100 million over the projected salary cap for 2021. Even the $36 million that would come off the books if Brees retires would not give general manager Mickey Loomis much maneuverability.

Thus, even reasonably priced free-agent stopgaps like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyrod Taylor would probably be beyond the Saints’ means.

The draft might also be a difficult spot to find an immediate starter as the Saints will pick 28th in the first round after going 12-4 in the regular season.

QBs Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Zach Wilson figure to off the board by then. While Florida’s Kyle Trask, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones might be available, none are sure things to be ready to be start as rookies.

Thus, betting the chalk is the best way to go here as Hill. All logic points to him being the Saints’ guy in 2021, though a small wager on Fitzpatrick would be fun just to see if he could work FitzMagic with a ninth team.

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