The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an interesting decision to make with their franchise tag this offseason, and what they do could ultimately determine whether or not Jameis Winston is back with the team next year.
The Bucs may use their franchise tag on star pass-rusher Shaq Barrett rather than Winston, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. They would prefer to work out a long-term deal with Barrett, but it would not be a surprise if they do everything necessary to keep the 27-year-old.
From our @NFLTotalAccess pre-Combine show: The #Bucs are strongly considering using the franchise tag on Shaq Barrett if they can't reach a long-term deal, while the #Chargers are in the same position with TE Hunter Henry. pic.twitter.com/QYZXaHxNXh
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2020
Barrett had 19.5 sacks in his first season with the Bucs last year. He had 14 total in his first four NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, so it goes without saying that he was an outstanding fit in Tampa’s defense.
Winston is also set to become a free agent, though Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has openly said the team will look for a better option before deciding if Winston will be back. Arians has been critical of Winston for turning the ball over so much last year, and the Bucs may be placing a higher priority on retaining Barrett than Winston.
Bruce Arians is prepared to enter the 2020 season with Jameis Winston as his starting quarterback, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach admits that he will explore other options before trying to bring Winston back. As many expected, Tom Brady will be one of those options.
The Bucs can place the franchise tag on Winston before he becomes a free agent, but Arians told reporters on Tuesday that the team will examine the quarterback market before deciding whether or not to go that route. Arians once again expressed concerns over Winston’s inability to protect the ball, but the coach also said “hell yeah” when asked if he believes Tampa can win with Jameis.
Arians on weighing the good and bad of Jameis Winston: “Five thousand yards and 30 touchdowns (33) is awesome. Thirty interceptions … Can we win with Jameis? Hell, yeah. There’s no doubt. As a head coach, you have to decide ‘Is there a better option?’”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
When asked for a specific example of someone he might reach out to before committing to Winston, Arians mentioned Brady.
Lots of quotes of significance from Arians, especially relating to Winston. Definitely aware that there could be available options he would want to consider. “Tom Brady,” he answered when asked for an example of someone he might prefer.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
While it may be a bit unusual for a coach to be so forthcoming about his plans at the QB position, nothing Arians said is a huge surprise. Arians reiterated that he was discouraged by Winston’s play down the stretch in 2019, which included six interceptions over Tampa’s final two games. The coach has already said multiple times this offseason that the Bucs will try to find someone better than Winston before making a final decision about the former Florida State star.
Arians didn’t mention Philip Rivers, but the 38-year-old is another possible option for the Bucs. It’s unclear if Arians would consider Rivers an upgrade over Winston, however.
Winston made a big change in his life this offseason that could potentially help him on the field, though Arians doesn’t seem overly excited about it. While it is unlikely that Brady would sign with Tampa, Winston is going to have to wait for Brady’s free agency to play out before getting more clarity on his own future.
Will Jameis Winston be the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season? We still don’t know, and it may be several more weeks before we do.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said there is still no decision on Winston’s future with the organization and there probably will not be until the legal tampering period of March 16-18.
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
Arians admitted part of the issue in determining Winston’s fate is that the team still isn’t sure which quarterbacks will be available in free agency, thus making it tough to determine whether an upgrade on Winston will be available.
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?” Arians said. “And then, that’s the problem, you get about three days to decide. The legal tampering period. Is somebody going to get let go? What’s the trade values? It’s really monotonous right now because you don’t have any answers.”
We do know of one big-name quarterback who will definitely be available, and it has been indicated that the Buccaneers are seriously interested. Winston, meanwhile, has made some changes ahead of his free agency that could really help him on the field. Whether that’s with the Buccaneers or someone else is very much an open question.
There has been a huge development in the NFL world, one that could have massive implications on the future of the league: Jameis Winston has undergone LASIK.
Winston posted a photo on his Instagram story last week that showed him wearing oversized sunglasses, the kind one might get after a visit with an eye doctor.
— Mike M (@MikeDizzle29) February 7, 2020
The Tampa Bay Times confirmed on Wednesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback underwent the laser eye surgery, which improves one’s vision without the need for corrective eye wear.
This is massive.
Winston has struggled with his vision for years and has been known for squinting during games because he does not wear contact lenses when he plays. Even as recently as this season he was seen squinting on the field.
It’s pretty ridiculous that Winston has gone this long without correcting his vision for games. Coming off a year where he threw a league-high 30 interceptions, this can only help.
- Jameis Winston
Few quarterbacks know what it takes to adapt to Bruce Arians’ offense like Carson Palmer does.
Palmer was brought in by Arians when the coach took over the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. The veteran quarterback had a rough first season, throwing 22 interceptions to go along with 24 touchdowns. Palmer cut that total to three interceptions in six games the next season, then went 13-3 in 2015 while throwing 35 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions.
That’s why Palmer believes Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will be a huge success if Arians sticks with him going into 2020.
“I believe he’ll have a big jump if he’s back in Tampa with Bruce,” Palmer said Wednesday on The Rich Eisen Show. “Mentally, it’s such a difficult offense. It is not easy. … It’s not a simple offense to just pick up and start off year one and go out there and have a Pro Bowl year. It takes years. It takes years for the quarterback, and it takes years for the guys outside.
“You need time, you need experience within that system, and that’s something you don’t have in year one. You need year one to go back and watch the film and see yourself doing it wrong and the receivers seeing themselves do it wrong, and then year two things really start to click. That chemistry starts to develop, and that trust, and that confidence in the offense starts to develop. If Jameis is back in Tampa, I would expect year two to be a massive year for him.”
Winston certainly has the physical gifts to be a great quarterback, but he’s fresh off a season that saw him throw 30 interceptions. That has to go down, and that will require adaptation. Palmer would know how hard Arians’ offense is to master, and he clearly did so after an iffy first season. The Buccaneers have to hope Winston will be a similar case, though the coach seemed to have some lingering doubts at the end of the season. Winston is facing free agency, but Tampa Bay is still considered likely to bring him back, potentially with the franchise tag.
Maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t sold on bringing back quarterback Jameis Winston after all.
Winston wrapped up a 30 interception season Sunday in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, going along with 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. Coach Bruce Arians seemed miffed with Winston’s performance, but he really didn’t hold back Monday in addressing the team’s quarterback situation.
#GoBucs coach Bruce Arians, when asked if this team could win with another quarterback: “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too.’’
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 30, 2019
That’s about as far from a ringing endorsement as you can get if you’re Winston. Unless Arians was being very flippant, it certainly suggests that he thinks the Buccaneers could do better at the quarterback position. It goes in line with what he said after Sunday’s game, when he seemed quite unconvinced by Winston and the quarterback’s propensity for turning the ball over.
Winston would become a free agent when the 2020 league year begins on March 18. The franchise tag may be the most likely option, but given these comments, Tampa Bay letting him walk can’t be entirely ruled out.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may still bring Jameis Winston back in 2020, but it doesn’t sound like they’re terribly happy with how his season ended.
Winston ended 2019 with a pick-six in overtime to give the Atlanta Falcons a win. It was Winston’s 30th interception of the season, putting a big damper on a year that also saw him surpass 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
After the loss, coach Bruce Arians was asked if the pick-six factored into the Buccaneers’ evaluation of their quarterback, and Arians gave a blunt answer.
When asked how Jameis Winston’s pick-six impacts his evaluation, Bruce Arians said, “It doesn’t help.”
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) December 29, 2019
Arians went further, stating that there is “so much good and so much outright terrible” about his quarterback.
Bruce Arians says “there’s so much good and so much outright terrible” in terms of evaluating Jameis Winston and the future.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 29, 2019
Winston will be a free agent this offseason. The Buccaneers will have to decide whether the good outweighs the bad here. The general consensus is that they are leaning toward keeping him, but Arians has disputed those reports. Arians’ quote here adds further evidence that they have yet to make up their minds — and Arians doesn’t seem sure enough that he’s the guy to give him a public vote of confidence right now.