When it comes to one of the most polarizing players in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, unquestionably it’s Jameis Winston. More often than naught, the quarterback keeps the team competitive for the most part when the other units fall apart. It’s hard to argue the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” persona of the Buccaneers given their woeful inconsistency.
A Broken Record Beyond Jameis Winston
One gross inconsistency throughout Winston’s time is the lack of productivity and reliability on the running game and the defense. The team’s inconsistency in running for ball control shows the inability to apply pressure on the defense. Opposing defenses had easier times stopping the Bucs run game and take their chances getting Winston in a shootout situation.
When the opposing defenses dictate the tempo of the game, the Bucs are forced to be one dimensional. When Winston becomes the Buccaneers’ only offense, it opens opportunities for the defense to create turnovers. Given his 33-30 ratio in 2019, opposing defenses tended to be more successful becoming more polished than the Buccaneers in finishing games. It’s been a conundrum that continues to baffle the coaching staff and front office.
As much as people want to blame Winston for the team’s woes, that’s only part of the reason. He isn’t the one coughing up the go-ahead score most times. At the same time, if he weren’t asked to do so much, the decision to move on from him is far easier.
I propose either signing Winston to a two-year deal or using the transition tag on him, but do something the team hasn’t done his entire time. Sign a proven veteran to compete for the starting position. The Buccaneers can find talent better than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blaine Gabbert or Ryan Griffin.
Jameis Winston as Insurance
If by some slim chance the Buccaneers can land Tom Brady, Transition Tag Winston at least guarantees some insurance policy to cover the 43-year old. The multiple-time Super Bowl MVP had a few season-ending injuries. Plus for Winston, a two-year deal could provide invaluable experience to learn from a guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer. Signing Philip Rivers provides a similar opportunity for Winston to learn from a pro who’s successfully led his teams to the playoffs. Rivers appeared in eight of his 16-year career in the playoffs. In the event he doesn’t pick up the offense as well as he should, Winston can prove to start on the spot.
Playing for the Buccaneers again also provides an opportunity for Winston to have a bigger contract. There are many who disagree he deserves $30 million for his erratic career, but a second year under Bruce Arians could be what the quarterback needs if Carson Palmer is correct in his assessment.
Winston is at least a capable starter and a definite insurance policy the Bucs can’t afford to lose.