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How Much Can Jameis Winston Earn With the Saints This Season?

The Saints QB quarterback signed an incentive-laden contract with New Orleans that’s already leading to bonuses after a tremendous Week 1 performance.

Of all the major storylines that dominated the first Sunday of the NFL regular season, no player stood out more than New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston.

Becoming your team’s starting quarterback right after the departure of an all-time legend is a nearly impossible task; Just ask Cam Newton about replacing Tom Brady in New England last season.

But in his first game as the Saints’ starter following Drew Brees‘ retirement, Winston couldn’t have imagined a better outing.

Playing a home game against Green Bay in FOX’s game of the week in Jacksonville as Louisiana recovers from Hurricane Ida, Winston threw five touchdown passes in a shocking 38-3 domination of the Packers. He only had to throw the ball 20 times, completing 14 passes for 148 yards and rushing for 37 additional yards on six carries.

After playing four games and throwing a total of 11 passes as Brees’ understudy last season, the 27-year-old Winston signed a one-year deal worth a minimum of $5.5 million, including a $4.5 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary. But critically, incentives could not only earn the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller an additional $7 million this year, but a potential nine-figure payday this offseason in free agency.

Per Spotrac, here’s a detailed breakdown of the incentives Winston could earn if he continues his strong play from Week 1:

  • $1 million if he improves on any individual stat among playing time, passing yards, passing TDs, rush yards or rushing TDs from 2020. He already reached this incentive on Sunday against Green Bay.
  • $500,000 if he plays at least 70% of the team’s snaps and the Saints make the playoffs.
  • $500,000 if he plays at least 70% of the team’s snaps and has at least a 65% completion rate with a minimum of 224 pass attempts.
  • $500,000 if he finishes with at least a 93 passer rating.
  • $500,000 if he plays at least 70% of the team’s snaps and the Saints finish in the top five in fewest sacks allowed.
  • $250,000 for each playoff win if he plays at least half the snaps.
  • $200,000 once Winston reaches 2,500 passing yards, escalating to $500,000 for 3,000 pass yards and $1 million for at least 3,500 (non-cumulative).
  • $200,000 once he reaches 16 passing TDs, ecalating to $500,000 for 20 TDs and $1 million for at least 25 passing touchdowns (non-cumulative).
  • $58,823 per game that he’s active, amounting to just nine dollars short of $1 million for the full 17-game season (mininum 50% of snaps required).
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If Winston stays healthy and in the lineup, he’s got a pretty good chance to get many, if not all, of the regular season incentives on this one-year deal.

And if he hits all those benchmarks and leads the Saints to a deep playoff run, New Orleans is going to have to break the bank to bring him back — or else risk losing him to a rival club that could benefit from his newfound success.

In any event, Week 1’s rampant showing proves that the opportunity is legitimately there for Winston’s one-year, make-good deal to pay off in a gigantic way.

About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.