The NFL offseason is rapidly approaching, well for the Buccaneers anyway. With that comes the speculation season. That time of year when the media and the fanbase put on their sudo-general managers hats and start speculating.
Sign this guy, cut that guy, don’t pay him this… it goes on and on. So when you see a tweet with somewhat shocking news you tend to be hesitant. Hesitant to believe anything that doesn’t come straight from the team itself.
J.C.Cornell of The Draft Network thumbed out a tweet on Christmas Eve that has the Buccaneers’ fanbase on it’s head.
#GoBucs scoop on Jameis:
I have heard Jameis is looking for over $30M a year in an extension. Would be extremely unhappy with a franchise tag. There are other markets that would value Jameis much more than Tampa Bay. Chicago comes to mind.
— JC Cornell (@CornellNFL) December 24, 2019
Typically I’d cry foul at hearing this before the season is even over. The issue here is Cornell isn’t just some dude with a Twitter account, this guy has been spot on with his Bucs takes. Cornell was well ahead of everyone else with the news of the Bruce Arians hiring.
Let’s try to unpack this a bit, Jameis Winston is a stat machine. He throws for more yards and TDs than any other Buccaneers quarterback has. Albeit setting Buccaneers passing records isn’t exactly a hard accomplishment. It’s a rather low-bar to be honest. But Winston just doesn’t set Buccaneers records, he owns quite a few NFL records as well. So this tweet seems to make sense. A 25 year old QB who throws the ball at a record setting pace? Sign him now right?
Not So Fast
Before you start drawing up that contract we have to mention the 5000 lb elephant in the room. Jameis Winston turns the ball over more than any other quarterback in the league, not just this year but typically every year. Winston has thrown six pick-6’s this season alone, yes 36 points to the other team. He leads the league in interceptions and it’s not even close. Winston, to his credit has gotten the fumbling issue under control but that does little to erase the interceptions.
Head coach Bruce Arians has made a habit of breaking down and assigning fault to Winston’s interceptions in each post game press conference. Lets be honest, when a head coach starts the press conference off with making excuses for turnovers there’s a problem. The thing is, Arians is right about some of this, ok a little of this. Yes the team is still learning a new system. Yes the WRs have on occasion ran the wrong routes. But 30 interceptions? That isn’t a bad route here or there, that’s a pattern.
So what is the answer? Do the Buccaneers cave and pay Winston the $30 million per year? Do they run the risk of placing a franchise tag on him and eschew the reports that doing so would upset Winston?
My take is a little more reasonable. I suggest a 5-year extension, worth roughly $24-26 million per season. The contract would be incentive laden with the ability for Winston to make in excess of the $30 million per year he is rumored to be seeking. To me this is the easiest, risk free way to solve this problem. With the 5-year duration, that would allow Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to work with Winston through the duration of their contracts. While still leaving Winston under contract for the next coaching regime if it comes to that. If it were to come to that, this also gives the new regime the ability to trade Winston as he would still be under contract. So in a sense it’s a win/win deal. You know, the only stat Winston doesn’t seem to dominate.
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