NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints have selected Jameis Winston to succeed Drew Brees as starting quarterback for their season opener against Green Bay on Sept. 12, said a person familiar with the decision.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the club has not announced the result of its preseason competition for the starting QB job between Winston and Taysom Hill.

The decision, first reported by ESPN, means Winston is set to start his first regular-season game since the end of the 2019 season with Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers chose not to bring back Winston, who they drafted first overall in 2015, when they had an opportunity to sign former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the spring of 2020.

While the Bucs went on to win the Super Bowl with Brady, Winston spent last season on a one-year contract with New Orleans, hoping to resurrect his career by learning under Coach Sean Payton, who designs New Orleans’ perennially prolific offense, and Brees, the NFL’s all-time leading passer, who announced his retirement in March.

This year, Winston returned to New Orleans on another one-year contract worth a base of $5 million plus incentives worth an additional $7 million and an opportunity to compete for an open starting job.

Winston separated himself from Hill considerably in the second preseason game Monday, completing 9 of 10 passes during three series, highlighted by touchdown passes of 43 and 29 yards to second-year receiver Marquez Callaway.

The Saints canceled their home preseason game set for Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals because of the potential for Hurricane Ida to batter Louisiana’s coast with wind as high as 140 mph by Sunday.

After initially moving kickoff up by seven hours, the Saints announced the subsequent decision to cancel the game came after consultation with city officials in New Orleans, Gov. John Bel Edwards, the National Weather Service, The Department of Homeland Security and the NFL.

Ida struck Cuba on Friday, showing hallmarks of a rapidly intensifying storm that could speed across warm Gulf of Mexico waters and slam into Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center warned.

If so, the storm would strike the Louisiana coast 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina leveled parts of the Mississippi Coast and ruptured storm protection levees around New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, causing about 80% of the city to be affected by flooding that in some neighborhoods left only roofs above water.

BROWNS: Coach Kevin Stefanski surprisingly said that Baker Mayfield and some “select” Cleveland starters will play in Sunday night’s nationally televised exhibition finale against the Atlanta Falcons. Not wanting to risk injuries, Stefanski had kept his starting quarterback and the majority of his starters on the sideline for the team’s first two preseason games.

“We’re just making decisions individually based on who needs to get some reps, making those decisions based on these practice reps, based on the joint practice reps, based on game reps,” Stefanski said following practice. “So we’ll hold some other guys out.”

There have been a range of methods – and opinions – across the league for playing starters in preseason games. Most teams have played their first-stringers at least a little, often giving their starting QBs a series or two. Stefanski did not say how long Mayfield will be in the game or which other starters will see action with him.

“We have a plan, but I want to see how it goes,” he said.

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