It appears that Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s days as their starter are numbered. After his latest meltdown in Cincinnati with four interceptions sent him to the bench, veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick heroically led them back from 18 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 34.
Alas, Cincy kicker Randy Bullock won the game with a field goal on the final play 37-34. The Bucs dropped to 3-4, but Fitzpatrick looked like he did in his torrid start, when they went 2-0 in September.
Now, with the NFL trading deadline looming on Tuesday afternoon, would the Buccaneers entertain moving on from Winston, who’s in the final year of his rookie deal? More importantly, off of nine turnovers in three starts, would anyone really want him?
Don’t laugh and keep reading, there are possible landing spots for the former #1 overall pick:
New York Giants
The G-men are obviously going nowhere after their latest loss Sunday at home against the Redskins. And that also holds true for 36 year old quarterback Eli Manning: the “going nowhere” part. He continues to flounder and looks over the hill, as exemplified by throwing two more picks, being sacked seven more times and the Giants scored 13 points in the defeat. And, the latest loss dropped them to 1 and 7 on the season.
New York chose to draft running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick last April and not go for one of the young star quarterbacks in the top 10. And, they don’t really have a viable option waiting to replace Manning later this year or in 2019?
Yes, New York is one of the toughest places to play in the world, and you could argue that Winston has a fragile psyche at this point with all the turnovers he’s accumulated and New York would eat him up.
Still, this seems to be a prime spot for him to land.
Even the late Ray Charles can see the undoing of Blake Bortles eventually coming in Jacksonville and it has happened rapidly in 2018. The Jaguars are plummeting having lost four straight and five of their last six and Bortles is unable to get them in the end zone at all.
The latest defeat coming Sunday in London to the Eagles 24-18 and sent the Jags to the bye week at 3-5.
Off of their playoff run a year ago, the Jaguars were not inclined to draft a quarterback of the future in April and their trade for young backup Cody Kessler isn’t the answer long-term either.
Could Winston be that guy in Jacksonville? Yes it is a huge “Gator Town” and so, that on the surface would appear to be a turn-off.
Then again, Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith both are from Florida State also, and are popular players who lead the defense.
Jacksonville is just like the Giants, they need a spark and someone else will likely be their starting quarterback in 2019. Might Winston fit?
Finally, Oakland Raiders
Yes, the Raiders have made a long-term financial commitment to Derek Carr, but with their latest loss on Sunday at home to the Colts, this appears to be a totally lost season in year one of the return of Jon Gruden.
And Gruden has already shipped out all world linebacker Khalil Mack and former number one pick receiver Amari Cooper. So, don’t put it past him to want to start over with another quarterback.
Gruden who’s lived in Tampa for over 20 years including the last nine years while broadcasting on ESPN, knows all about Winston and the Bucs.
Would Oakland want to bring him in as an alternative that allows them to get something for Carr, but not have to start completely over with an unproven rookie next year?
Probably not likely, but still juicy none the less.
Ultimately, the Bucs and GM Jason Licht will likely hang on to Winston, especially in the event that Fitzpatrick were to get injured in the near or short term.
However, he may may be inclined to try to get something for Winston, if the Bucs have decided that Winston is not the future.
We will soon find out.
Report- Bucs have extended GM Jason Licht’s contract
Hoping to practice some form of continuity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly extended the contract of GM Jason Licht.
This after a report Saturday morning from Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Rick Stroud, that Licht has been given a five-year contract extension to remain with the team:
Bucs signed general manager Jason Licht to a new five year deal https://t.co/g8fswc0gyJ
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) August 17, 2019
A big part of the reason why the Glazer family, which owns the team, wanted to keep Licht is: his ability to lure former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to come out of retirement and join them this past January.
Further, Stroud reports that Arians made it a condition of his coming out of retirement that Licht remain with the team long-term and that the Bucs keep embattled starting QB Jameis Winston.
Licht had been given a one-year extension for 2019 before this offseason, and the Buccaneers had already committed to keep quarterback Jameis Winston for the fifth year option of his rookie contract. Then, once former coach Dirk Koetter was fired in January, Licht’s previous relationship with Arians helped the Bucs get their new coach.
Licht was the assistant general manager with the Cardinals, when Arians was hired in 2013 and led them eventually to the NFC Championship Game in 2014.
Licht became the Buccaneers general manager at that the start of that same season, but has had a rocky tenure of results. This includes only one winning season out of five and several free agent moves and draft picks that have backfired.
None bigger than when Licht traded up in the 2016 draft for FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round, only to have Aguayo falter and be released the following year in training camp.
Licht has also had free agent busts like former Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker and last year, Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. Both of whom we’re paid heavily but did nothing in their one season before being released.
Licht and his staff do deserve some credit for finding unheralded players like tight end Cameron Brate, running back Peyton Barber and former wide receiver Adam Humphries. All of whom were undrafted and have been quality contributors over the last couple of seasons.
The team had no official comment on Stroud’s report of the extension.
Bucs rookie PK Gay likely won job with clutch Friday night boot
It’s not over, but it’s almost over. For all intents and purposes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking competition ended Friday night with :06 remaining in their second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. That’s when rookie Matt Gay hammered a 48-yard game winning field goal that almost certainly confirmed that he will be the Bucs opening-day placekicker.
Relive the moment here, as the Utah rookie put it through the uprights and gave Tampa Bay a 16-14 win over the Dolphins:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 17, 2019
“I owe it all to those game situations that we practice every day in practice. Bruce [Arians] does them for a reason and when you get out there in the game, it just feels like the practice situation because you’ve done it. So, you’re able to have the nerves calm to be able to go out there and do what you need to do,” Gay said to the media post game.
The Bucs were seemingly beaten when Dolphins backup quarterback Jake Rudock led Miami into the endzone in the final :45 and the Fins also got the two-point conversion for a 14 – 13 lead.
However, Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Griffin returned the favor, moving Tampa Bay into field-goal range quickly with a 27-yard completion to backup tight end Tanner Hudson that set up Gay’s game-winning attempt.
The rookie, who had made a Heinz Field record 55-yarder to end the first half in Pittsburgh in the preseason opener Last Friday Night, responded with a booming kick the curled perfectly down the middle. And, it gave Coach Bruce Arians a victory in his second preseason game as new Bucs head coach.
“We’ve done that 34-second one with two timeouts before and I thought Griff executed it to perfection and obviously Matty hit the field goal so it was a big win,” Arians told the media post game.
Gay, whom the Buccaneers drafted in April with 5th round pick, has been expected to win the kicking job from veteran Cairo Santos, who finished 2018 on the Buccaneers roster. Gay has the much stronger leg and Santos’ best hope to make the team was: if he continued to accurately knock field goals and extra points through and have Gay repeatedly misfire.
That has not happened.
And, it seems at this point academic that the rookie will be the Bucs opening day kicker.
However, what happens after the regular season begins is a whole other discussion.
As we have written repeatedly, the Bucs have been a revolving door of kickers over the course of the last five years. This includes, Tampa Bay infamously picking Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round in 2016 only to have Aguayo falter badly in his rookie year.
And, he was cut after the first preseason game of his second year in 2017.
Gay does not lack for confidence, as he’s talked throughout the build-up to preseason that he embraces the pressure that comes with trying to solidify the Buccaneers kicking woes. Now, it appears that the only thing that would prevent him from having the chance in the regular-season to do that is, if he were to somehow get injured at the start of the year.
But, after Friday night’s finish, Gay looks like everything the Bucs and GM Jason Licht hoped he would be- a stone-cold clutch performer who can deliver, when is team needs him the most.