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Bucs pick up fifth year option on Jameis Winston’s rookie contract

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs belief in quarterback Jameis Winston, as their leader of the future was reinforced Tuesday morning, as they confirmed that they have picked up the fifth year option on his rookie contract. This locks in Winston’s salary, for now, for the 2019 season.

Winston, who is 24, battled shoulder problems missing all or most of five games in his third season throwing for only 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, as the Bucs struggled to a 5-11 record. This was a step back from a 9 and 7 campaign in 2016, when Winston threw for 4,000+ yards for the second straight year and had 28 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. However, his play had a large part in having Tampa Bay on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Winston also become the second quarterback at that time (2015-16) in the history of the NFL to start his career with back to back 4,000 yard passing seasons before turning 23 years old. Dan Marino is the other.

The former number one overall pick in the 2015 draft , is now guaranteed to make almost $21 million for the 2019 season. He is slated to make $3.9 million in base salary and roster bonuses for 2018.

The Bucs are also preparing for the future and a deal that gets even better for Winston. That’s because, he likely will receive a massive contract worth north of $150 million total at some point in the next year-and-a-half and that will erase the current $20 million+ cap hit 2019 for the team.

As reference points, the 49ers gave their new starting QB Jimmy Garappolo $137.5 million in a five year deal back in February and it has $90 million in the first three years of it. In March Minnesota signed Kirk Cousins to a fully guaranteed $84 million dollar three year contract.

As we wrote yesterday, there still a controversy lingering over Winston involving an Uber driver in Arizona’s accusation that he inappropriately touched her in March of 2016. Winston told the media that he has yet to be interviewed by NFL investigators and there is a possible player conduct suspension looming for him for the upcoming season.

Nonetheless, the Bucs are making the smart financial play here that guarantees them time to see how 2018 plays out and has Winston’s cap number assured for 2019 at the same time.

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