The temptation is strong to believe that Bucs QB Jameis Winston has turned the corner.
Four consecutive wins. Franchise historic stats. Fantasy football domination.
A Sunday in Detroit, where he became the first QB in league history to throw for 450+ yards in back to back games.
It is easy, at this point, to believe that a full year under coach Bruce Arians has started to really work for Winston and turn his excellent talent into results worth paying for on a long-term contract or even a franchise tag.
Don’t be fooled. At the same time, don’t close the door.
As stated before in this space, Winston is worth bringing back in the right situation and under the right deal. If he is willing to do, say a three-year deal with a sizable chunk upfront that gives Tampa Bay the chance to get out of the deal, so be it.
But, if you’re talking about slapping him with a “Franchise Tag” or giving him a five- or six-year deal with $60 million or so guaranteed, both of those options are a hard pass.
In fact, the best course of action with Winston is this: Let him hit the market. If some teams want to overpay for a guy who is as sloppy and turnover prone as Winston, that’s they’re problem. But if, as many people expect, Winston gets only a lukewarm reception in the free agent market, the Buccaneers can play the savior and bring him back.
The key is that letting Winston hit the market is a dose of reality. It’s a chance for Winston to see what’s out there and likely find out that the Buccaneers and Arians are a pretty good combination.
But if the opposite happens and the Bucs overpay for Winston to return to Tampa Bay on a long-term deal or, worse, keep him with the franchise designation, the whole situation sends the wrong message. That message to Winston is the same one he has been hearing all his life.
The message that no matter what he does, it’s all good. That was the message in college, which allowed Winston to roam Florida State through one bad situation to another. Despite all his mistakes, Winston sill managed to go No. 1 overall.
Now, after five seasons of producing turnovers the way no one else in the NFL has done, the Bucs would be doing the same thing they did before. The result is going to be a player who doesn’t get better fast enough. His rate of 4.5 interceptions per 100 passes is the highest of his career. His 12 fumblers are the second most of his career.
For every great thing Winston does – such as the 30 touchdown passes he has now thrown so far this season to set a career high – he does something just as significant to undermine his team. He has 25 interceptions and three lost fumbles.
Yes, some of those are tipped throws. Most of them are sloppy throws by a player who should know better in his fifth NFL season. Even in the last four weeks of victories, there were still seven total turnovers.
Thus, if the Buccaneers are to proceed with Winston, they have to do it on their terms, not his. They need to be able to tell him what he needs to hear, not beg him to listen after they have already paid him big money.
As much as the past four weeks have been sensational statistically, there’s no getting around the fact that three of those wins are against bad/awful teams (Detroit has now lost 10 of 11 games, and earlier winning at Atlanta and at Jacksonville). The fourth win is a plummeting Colts team that has lost five of six games and that still has to play at angry New Orleans Monday night.
In six games against teams with winning records this season, Winston and the Bucs are 1-5 and he has 13 turnovers.
You don’t pay for that.
You look it, you see if you can fix it and you make a decision accordingly.
But you don’t pull out a check book for a guy like that who will take your money and let it go to his head.
Resist the temptation.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.