New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees officially retired and ended speculation that he’d suit up for Who Dat nation for one more season. With Brees riding off into the sunset, the Saints now have to figure out who will be their QB next season – Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, or someone else, like Russell Wilson?

Drew Brees Retires New Orleans Saints
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees celebrates throwing a touchdown for the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. (Image: Chris Graythen/Getty)

Brees, 42, ended his career with 80,358 passing yards and 571 passing touchdowns. He’s ranked #2 all-time in passing touchdowns behind Tom Brady.

Brees guided the Saints to their first and only Super Bowl victory during a magical 2009 season for New Orleans, which was still reeling from a tragic hurricane and flood that ravished the city in 2005.

“Throughout his career, his consistency and dedication to excellence were unparalleled,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton. “In a very short period of time, he would help lead a region to recovery and a team to a Super Bowl Championship. He was a magnificent leader both on and off the field. His attention to detail and competitive spirit were infectious. For all of us that have had the chance to coach him, it has been our privilege, we are better for it.”

Brees struggled through numerous injuries during the 2020 season, including 13 fractured ribs. Everyone close to Brees knew that it would be his final season. However, fans hoped and prayed that he’d postpone retirement to play one more season.

Brees: San Diego > New Orleans

When Brees entered the NFL two decades ago, the gatekeepers of the league had doubts that the undersized QB could flourish at an even 6-feet tall. The San Diego Chargers drafted Brees out of Purdue with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft.

After 20 seasons, Brees proved them all wrong and, if it weren’t for Brady continuing to play into his mid-40s, Brees would’ve ended his career with the most touchdowns in NFL history.

After five seasons with the Chargers, Brees headed to the Big Easy in 2006 to play for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints won the Super Bowl four years after his arrival.

“When I was hired by the Saints as head coach in 2006, the very first goal was to establish a functional and winning culture,” added Payton. “In doing so, it was vital to know what we were looking for in a player, talent, work ethic, makeup, intelligence, and leadership are all qualities we found in Drew Brees. We also found a player with a burning desire to win. Within a year, he helped lead our team to the club’s first NFC Championship appearance.”

“Drew came to represent the resolve, passion, and drive that resonates not only with Saints fans and football fans, but [with] our entire community,” said Saints team owner Gayle Benson. “He played the game and played the position at its highest level, but just as important, represented our organization and region in the highest fashion.”

Brees will become an analyst for NBC Sports, including on Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame football games.

Who Will QB for the Saints?

The Saints want to bring back backup QB Jameis Winston. The Saints already have Taysom Hill under contract, but he didn’t exactly thrive as a traditional quarterback. Hill is one of the most versatile football players on the team and he could play numerous positions, including quarterback, special teams, running back, tight end, receiver, and even a cornerback. Payton referred to Hill as a “Swiss Army knife” due to his numerous skills. Hill is a perfect curveball to change things up during a game, especially in the red zone. But can he be successful for a full season under center?

Winston struggled with tossing too many turnovers during his stint with the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs punted on Winston when they realized they had a chance to sign Brady. The rest is history. Brady got a chance to play for a coach and team that wasn’t Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, and he crushed it with Bruce Arians’ Bucs.

After spending a full season learning the offense under Brees and Payton, the Saints will take a flier on Winston for next season. But Payton won’t commit to a starter just yet. He hinted that Winston and Hill will have to fight it out in training camp to decide the next starter.

Who Dat Loves Russell Wilson

The Saints could make a bold move to bring in another veteran gunslinger, or draft a quarterback in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

The Saints haven’t been mentioned in any trade rumors involving disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans say they intend to keep Watson, even though the New York Jets are ready to give up a motherlode of picks for him. A few NFL insiders are predicting a holdout situation because Watson really wants to get the hell out of Houston. Watson would rather sit out the season and call any bluff that the Texans try to run against him.

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are in the middle of a potential breakup. Wilson, via his agent, mentioned the Saints as one of four teams he’d consider if the Seahawks trade him. The Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys are also on Wilson’s list.

The Dallas Cowboys recently signed Dak Prescott to a hefty contract that makes him the NFL’s second-highest-paid quarterback. That means Wilson’s list is down to three potential teams, including the Bears, Saints, and Raiders.

If you talk to anyone in the Midwest, they’ll tell you that the Bears and Seahawks are working on a trade that brings Wilson to Chicago.

But if Who Dat nation wants a new sheriff, Payton and the Saints should do everything possible to pursue Wilson. It will be nearly impossible to replace Brees at quarterback, but Wilson would be an ideal fit.