According to NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill, the Indianapolis Colts were sending a jet on Monday morning to bring in New Orleans Saints free agent quarterback Jameis Winston for a visit—before ultimately trading for the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan:
The Colts were sending a jet on Monday morning to bring Jameis Winston for a visit until his focus shifted back toward the Saints.— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) March 22, 2022
An inside look at Jameis Winston's free agency.
https://t.co/KKaip2J9vb via @NOdotFootball
Now, Underhill says Winston’s focus shifted back to the Saints—before the Colts could fly him in on Monday morning, but I’m actually wondering whether the Colts brass had already made a decision at this point (following a Friday Zoom meeting with Ryan) and were finalizing the trade negotiations for Ryan with the Falcons before his hard 4PM EST roster bonus deadline where $7.5 million became due.
After all, if my memory serves correct, the Winston re-signing was announced shortly after the Ryan deal—meaning Winston was potentially down to just one remaining option, returning to New Orleans, and may have quickly signed for that very reason, to not be the quarterback playing musical chairs without a chair—when the music finally stopped.
The Colts did have reported interest in Winston, who had a very efficient season for the Saints—throwing 14 touchdowns to 3 interceptions before a season-ending torn ACL. He also would’ve helped the Colts in explosive passing plays, as he’s always been known to air it out deep. That being said, Winston is also known for his turnovers—as he threw a league-leading 30 picks in 2019 during his most recent season as a full-time starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As it stands, we may never know how Winston would fare in Indianapolis, as whether it was him or the Colts who quickly pivoted elsewhere, someone clearly did—meaning their marriage wasn’t in the cards this go around. Both sides appear pretty happy with how things played out though. And hey, you just never know in the future...