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Sports >  WSU football

Former Washington State WR Easop Winston Jr. signs free agent deal with New Orleans Saints

UPDATED: Thu., May 6, 2021

Washington State's Easop Winston Jr. makes a pass reception against California in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Berkeley, Calif.  (Associated Press)
Washington State's Easop Winston Jr. makes a pass reception against California in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Berkeley, Calif. (Associated Press)

Easop Winston Jr., one of the most sure-handed receivers to come through Washington State in recent history, is getting another chance to establish himself in the NFL.

After working out for the New Orleans Saints on Thursday morning in Louisiana, Winston will be signing a free agent deal with the NFC South organization, a source told The Spokesman-Review.

The source said the Saints were impressed with Winston right off the bat and called the receiver 10 minutes after his workout concluded. After returning home to the Bay Area, Winston plans to rejoin the team in New Orleans next week for minicamp practices.

It marks a return to the NFL for the former WSU receiver who wasn’t selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, instead signing an undrafted free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams. Winston Jr. participated in training camp with the Rams, but was cut in September as the team trimmed its roster down to 73 players.

Winston Jr. was unable to sign on with another club and the COVID-19 pandemic meant fewer opportunities for teams to host free agents for in-house workouts.

The Saints currently list eight wide receivers on their roster after losing their top producer, Emmanuel Sanders, from the 2020 season. New Orleans also signed another free agent receiver, South Alabama’s Kawaan Baker, following the 2021 Draft.

After transferring to WSU from City College of San Francisco, Winston Jr. used a redshirt year before stepping into the rotation at “Z” receiver, trading reps with Dezmon Patmon, who’s now a member of the Indianapolis Colts. In 26 games with the Cougars, Winston Jr. caught 137 passes for 1,624 yards and 19 touchdowns. The 19 career TD catches are tied for the seventh-most in school history. Winston Jr. had seven 100-yard efforts, caught a pass in 25 straight games and shares WSU’s single-game record for touchdown catches, reeling in four from ex-CCSF teammate Anthony Gordon during a 2019 loss to UCLA.

Theo Lawson can be reached at (509) 939-5928 or theol@spokesman.com.

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