2023 NFL quarterback analysis: New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton. Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

2023 NFL quarterback analysis: New Orleans Saints

Current starter: Andy Dalton | Current backups: Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill, Jake Luton

State of the position: Winston began the season as starter but struggled after suffering multiple fractures in his back in Week 1. Backup Dalton ruined the idea that all the team needed was average QB play to return to the playoffs.

Per Pro Football Focus, Dalton was actually above average, finishing as the seventh highest-graded QB. But don't tell that to Saints fans who remember his two interceptions returned for touchdowns against Arizona, the choke jobs against Tampa Bay and Carolina or the team's first shutout loss since 2002 in a 13-0 loss to the 49ers.

Dalton finished the 2022 season 252 of 378 (66.7 percent) for 2,871 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was 6-8 in 14 starts. 

Winston went 73-for-115 (63.5 percent) for 858 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions in three starts, going 1-2. The team (7-10) finished with its worst record since 2005.

Key stat: New Orleans used five starting QBs -- Ian Book, Dalton, Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Winston -- the past two seasons after having only five starting QBs from 2006-19: Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Mark Brunell, Taysom Hill and Luke McCown.

2023 QB forecast: Winston is under contract for 2023 while Dalton is a free agent. It's possible the team moves on from Winston to save money and re-signs Dalton.

The Saints are $58.15 million over the cap, and GM Mickey Loomis said managing the team's finances is a priority.

Expect the Saints to look for a QB in the draft. Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski mentioned New Orleans as an ideal landing spot for Stanford's Tanner McKee, noting the team's offensive system is designed for a pocket passer. 

Sobleski wrote McKee could drop to the second day, but the market is always high on quarterbacks, and he might not be available at 41st overall, the Saints' highest draft selection.

New Orleans lacks a first-round pick, but it could recoup one in a trade for former HC Sean Payton, who's still under contract. If a trade for Payton doesn't materialize, Tennessee's Hendon Hooker is an intriguing option in the draft. He's still recovering from a torn ACL.

The Saints crave continuity, which means at least one of the team's 2022 starters should be on the roster at the beginning of next season.

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