The Winston Effect?

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves in a unique position this season. They currently sit undefeated (2-0) with a chance to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Tampa has done all of this with backup journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. What’s unique about this is that the franchise quarterback Jameis Winston will be back from suspension in week 4. Jameis looked good during the preseason but is in the headlines again for his issues off the field. The woman who drove the Uber car is now suing Tampa Bay’s top draft pick.  So the question is what do the Buccaneers do with Winston?

The first option is to trade him. The Buccaneers are in the option year for Jameis Winston and will have to pay him quarterback money, which is never a small contract. Would Jameis be willing to sign a discounted contract to stay in Tampa Bay? I don’t see Winston giving any discounts to the Buccaneers because—let’s be honest—he has put up good numbers when on the field.

Who are some quarterbacks the Buccaneers could look at for a potential trade? My first thought is the Pittsburgh Steelers. What if the Buccaneers traded Jameis Winston to Pittsburgh for Le’Veon Bell? This gives the Steelers the heir to Ben Roethlisberger, and the Buccaneers get a legit running back. Both guys get paid. My next thought would be the Cleveland Browns. The Buccaneers would receive Tyrod Taylor and Duke Johnson for Winston and draft picks. We all know how Cleveland loves draft picks. Tyrod Taylor is an underrated quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over. Look at what he is doing in Cleveland right now. My last thought is the New England Patriots. It’s no secret Brady is getting closer to the end, and they’ve taken some heat for trading Jimmy Garoppolo, so Winston may be the guy they look at. What if the Buccaneers got Brady and Sony Michel for Winston and draft picks?

The next option would be free agency. The 2019 class of quarterbacks doesn’t have a lot to offer. The top five are Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Trevor Siemian, and Josh McCown. The only two guys on this list that Tampa would even consider are Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater. Of course, Bridgewater is coming off of a horrific injury that has kept him off the field for some time. When he was playing, Bridgewater was an up-and-coming quarterback. For his career, Bridgewater has a completion rating of 65%. He has thrown for 6,150 yards with 28 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but they’ve gotten better every year he has been in the league, and he does possess the ability to extend plays.

Tyrod Taylor is also listed above for trade, but maybe it is better to wait for free agency. Taylor was booted from Buffalo for Nathan Peterman. I still don’t understand the move, but here we sit waiting for the Browns to put Baker Mayfield in the game. Tyrod has a career 62% completion rating. He’s thrown for 9,500 yards, 53 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He has a QBR of 90%, too. He rarely turns the ball over and can scramble with the best of them.

The last option is to look for the next superstar in the NFL Draft. The Buccaneers will hopefully be selecting towards the end of the Draft in 2019. This year will be loaded with defensive talent, so the Buccaneers may have a shot at a top-tier quarterback. Oregon’s Justin Herbert may the best draft prospect this year. He is 6’6” and weighs 225 pounds, so he has the prototypical build for a quarterback. Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham is the next quarterback coming off the board. He is 6’2” and weighs 210 pounds. Missouri’s Drew Lock would be my last quarterback to look at. He’s 6’3” and weighs 226 pounds. None of these guys are as polished as Winston coming out of college and their completion percentage is pretty low, but they are all first round talent.

This is all in theory because the Buccaneers may very well keep Jameis Winston. The question isn’t his on-field skill set but issues off the field that continue popping up. Jason Licht has to decide if Jameis has matured enough to make millions of dollars and be responsible enough to be the face of the organization. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future for the Buccaneers, so no matter what Tampa Bay decides to do, it needs to be well thought out. This move could affect the Buccaneers years down the road. What the Buccaneers will do, only time will tell, so be patient!

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