By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
TAMPA- With questions swirling everyday about the impending decision the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to make about quarterback Jameis Winston, some news came in on Thursday that potentially gives a little more clarity to the situation.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported Thursday morning via Twitter that the Buccaneers are entertaining the idea of offering a 2-year deal to Winston. There is an option to join the team for the second season if Winston can improve from his 2019 campaign. During the first year of this deal Winston is guaranteed roughly $27-million and then based on how 2020 goes, has the potential to increase if he continues on to the second season.
In 2019, Winston became the first quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season, as well as the first Buccaneers’ quarterback to ever throw for more than 5,000 yards in a campaign. The decision to give Winston a short-term pact is up in the air, but there will be more options if Tampa Bay decides to move on from the former Florida State Star.
Reports have come in all throughout the off-season of potential replacements for Winston, including the likes of New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, New England’s Tom Brady, and former Los Angeles Chargers’ signal caller Phillip Rivers. Rivers has been heavily linked to Tampa Bay, as the former Charger and his family have moved down to Florida recently.
Options through free agency will be there for Tampa Bay, but the Buccaneers could also take a closer look at several of the college prospects that are going to be available in the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. Amongst the list of quarterbacks stated to be in the draft are LSU’s Joe Burrows, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, and Alabama’s Tua Tagovialoa.
The decision to go with a veteran quarterback seems more likely for Tampa Bay, as the window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Bruce Arians as the head coach continues to close. Arians is currently 67 years old and signed a 4-year deal when he joined Tampa Bay last season. The former Arizona Cardinals’ lead man guided the Colts and the former to playoff appearances and plans to do the same in Tampa Bay.
Can Arians make the Buccaneers a winner with Winston under center? That’s been the burning question every national news outlet has been asking. If Tampa Bay decides to bring Winston back, he will need to cut down on the turnovers immensely or his time as a Buccaneer will most certainly be over.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.