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First Call: Did Steelers really offer Jameis Winston a contract?; Leonard Fournette still a Jaguar – TribLIVE

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In Monday’s “First Call,” did the Steelers really offer a contract to Jameis Winston? Leonard Fournette is still a Jaguar. And the NFL draft ratings spike might be even more than anticipated.

So much for that

For those who wanted to see the Steelers sign Jameis Winston as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup — and maybe his successor — their hopes may be dashed.

It appears that the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback is set to sign with the New Orleans Saints instead. According to Yahoo Sports, Winston is about to ink an “economical” one-year deal with the Saints.

One outlet, “Bucs Report,” insists the Steelers tried to sign Winston for more money, but he decided to stay in the division with New Orleans.

That’s a hard one for me to swallow. Regardless of what you want to believe — or reject — about the level of interest the Steelers should’ve had in Winston, why would he turn down more money?

That’s if both deals were for one year.

The chances of getting more playing time behind Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh could be greater than in New Orleans, considering the injury Roethlisberger sustained last year and his style of game.

Unless, of course, Winston doesn’t want to come to a cold-weather city, and he wants to stay in a division he knows with a club he may think has a better chance to win.

Also, the Saints just signed another backup quarterback, Taysom Hill, to an extension.

Would Winston really want to compete with that if he had a better deal and a clearer lane to playing time elsewhere?

Fournette for now

Leonard Fournette was widely rumored as a potential trade target for the Steelers during draft weekend.

It didn’t happen. In fact, it didn’t happen with anyone. According to the Florida Times-Union, the Jags tried to trade Fournette on Day 2 of the draft and there were no takers.

John Reid reported that Jacksonville tried to push him to the Bucs for pick No. 76. But they wouldn’t do the deal.

Remember, the Steelers took a running back — Anthony McFarland Jr. (Maryland) — in the fourth round.

No word if the Steelers attempted to swap that pick — or their 102nd pick late in the third round — for Fournette.

But if the Steelers wanted Fournette and the Jags were allegedly willing to take a pick in the 70s and had no other takers, one would think that pick No. 102, or maybe even one of the Steelers’ two fourth rounders, would’ve been sufficient.

Parting Panther

Amid the Steelers’ draft choices and free agent signings, they released some players, too.

One of them was a familiar name — former Pitt running back Darrin Hall. He spent time last season on the Steelers practice squad.

The team also cut wide receiver Jamal Custis and safety Tray Matthews.

The Steelers roster is at 90 players now.

Drafting viewers

As predicted, the NFL draft was a ratings bonanza while everyone was shut in because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Check out these numbers from ProFootballTalk.com.

“In all, the 2020 draft averaged 8.4 million viewers for the three days, with ratings up 37% percent on Thursday and 40% on Friday.”

PFT even says Rounds 4-7 on Saturday were up 32%.

Trouble in ‘Tompa’?

We all had a good laugh at the story about Tom Brady stumbling into the wrong house while looking for Byron Leftwich’s home in Tampa.

Brady eventually made it over to Leftwich’s residence. We all chuckled. But maybe it wasn’t so funny.

According to CBSSports.com, Brady and Leftwich may have broken a rule. Via John Breech, “According to terms of the collective bargaining agreement, players and coaches aren’t allowed to talk football, hold meetings or even look at a playbook together before the start of a team’s offseason program, and since Tampa’s offseason program hasn’t started, Brady was ostensibly violating NFL rules when he went over to Leftwich’s house.

Jason La Canfora of CBS added that teams across the league are “miffed” about what Brady did.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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