The deal has a base value of $1.1 million, a source told ESPN's Field Yates, with a salary of $952,000 and a signing bonus of $148,000. Winston can earn $3.4 million in incentives.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Winston was displaced in Tampa Bay when the Buccaneers signed Tom Brady last month. Although Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards in 2019, he also became the first quarterback in league history to throw for at least 30 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season.
"Being a part of the New Orleans Saints -- being a part with Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Sean Payton, coach Joe Lombardi, coach Pete Carmichael Jr. -- when you think about that room, that's like a Harvard education in quarterback school," Winston said Tuesday during an appearance on "Chalk Talk" with Charlie Ward on Instagram Live. "So I wanted to put my ego aside -- put the money to the side -- to think about my family, think about my career.
"And there was no better position than to be in the same room with someone that I've really looked up to, that I've admired since I've been playing this game, in Drew Brees."
Brees told ESPN that he is "excited to have [Winston] in the QB room."
"He's got a lot of talent and a bright future," Brees said. "I've heard a lot of good things about his work ethic and love of the game."
Winston is expected to split backup duties with Hill, the Saints' versatile passer/runner/receiver who signed a two-year, $21 million contract extension Sunday. The Saints have stressed that they believe Hill can become their starting quarterback after the 41-year-old Brees retires, but they wanted to have another experienced backup in the fold to allow them to keep using Hill in his vital offensive role.
Bridgewater went 5-0 as a starter for the Saints last season when Brees was sidelined by a thumb injury, and that success helped him land a lucrative deal in free agency to become the Carolina Panthers' starter.
"It really probably won't be too much different than last year," Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland said Monday on ESPN Central Texas' The Matt Mosley Show. "We feel like [Hill] can start in the league at some point when it's his turn, and that's obviously why we invested in him. But we also need a No. 2 to really utilize [Hill's] skill set and his upside to the full extent of his ability. ... We can't do those things [with Hill] if we don't have a solid No. 2."
Can Winston improve with the Saints?
Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre and Israel Gutierrez speculate the chances of Jameis Winston improving his level of play now that he is with the Saints.
In the meantime, the Saints will have a chance to evaluate Winston and decide if he could become a long-term replacement. Although Brees has not announced any retirement plans, he has lined up a TV gig with NBC for his post-playing career.
If Winston winds up signing with another team in 2021, the Saints would still benefit with a compensatory draft choice.
"I've done some great things with the Bucs. I'm gonna miss being a starting quarterback," Winston said Tuesday. "But you never know what happens. I think this is just a great and unique step to join Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints and learn from one of the best to ever do it and make a great transition in my career.
"You know it's a proverb: Humility comes before honor. So I have to humble myself. And this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be with Drew Brees, to be with the New Orleans Saints and just prepare for when my next opportunity's gonna present itself."
In 2019, Winston reached both his positive and negative extremes on the field in his first season under coach Bruce Arians. Turnovers have been Winston's biggest issue as a pro, as opponents scored an NFL-high 112 points off them last season. Overall, he has 111 turnovers, the most by any player in the league since 2015. Winston's 19,737 passing yards since 2015, however, rank as the seventh most in the league.
After the season, Winston took steps to correct his nearsightedness, undergoing LASIK surgery.
The Bucs could have reached a deal with Winston at any point after the season, but Arians was adamant about seeing "what's behind Door No. 2" when it came to which free agents would be available.
Winston went 28-42 in his five seasons as a starter with the Bucs, completing 61.3% of his passes with 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. He developed a strong connection with Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Arians said he was happy with Winston's progression on the deep ball, as the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner completed 40.2% of his passes of 20 or more air yards in 2019, which was helped by his chemistry with wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Before last season, Winston had completed just 30.5% of such passes.
Winston was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season after an eight-month NFL investigation concluded that he engaged in detrimental conduct in March 2016 by touching a female Uber driver "in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent." A settlement was reached in a separate lawsuit.
The Saints will have to get creative, as usual, to make room for Winston financially, and his deal likely will include voidable years to spread out his cap hit. The Saints began the week with about $4 million in salary-cap space and still need to make room for their draft picks and a possible long-term extension for running back Alvin Kamara, among others.
ESPN's Jenna Laine contributed to this report.