NFL

A former Patriots executive explained why they ‘might have an interest’ in Jameis Winston this offseason

"I think you can fix James Winston."

Jameis Winston has seen minimal action with the New Orleans Saints this season. Rich Schultz/AP Photo

A former Patriots executive believes it’s possible Jameis Winston will be the Patriots’ starting quarterback next season.

Mike Lombardi, speaking on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” on Friday, said Winston – who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season – could make sense as a potential replacement to Cam Newton.

“I think you can fix James Winston,” Lombardi said. “I was thinking the Patriots might have an interest this offseason in Jameis Winston because I think he can be fixed.”

Winston, who turns 27 in early January, has had an accomplished career overall. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2013, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and led the NFL in passing yards last season.

That only tells half the story, though. In five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he only threw 17 more total touchdown passes (88) than interceptions (71). Last year, while he racked up over 5,000 passing yards, the gap was only three (33-30). He’s never posted a quarterback rating over 93, and he’s fumbled 31 times in his career.

Tom Brady, of course, took his job as the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback this season. Winston is 7 for 11 for 75 yards in three games with the New Orleans Saints in 2020.

Lombardi appears to think it’s possible Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could bring out the best in him.

Saints head coach Sean Payton has been impressed with Winston this season. Payton has said he believes the Saints’ next QB whenever Drew Brees retires is already on the team – meaning either Taysom Hill or Winston.

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“I and we as an organization love what we have seen from Jameis, and that constantly weighs in your mind relative to each game,” Payton said on the “Hustle and Flow” earlier this week.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Winston could possibly go to the Cincinnati Bengals to prove himself if Joe Burrow is out before potentially heading elsewhere.

On “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria,” Lombardi – who was an assistant to the coaching staff with the Patriots – discussed the possibility of New England landing a couple other QBs.

He said he “would take a chance” on Marcus Mariota of the Las Vegas Raiders but that there’s “no chance” the Patriots go after Mitch Trubisky of the Chicago Bears.

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