Jameis Winston hasn’t lived up to expectations, but with time on his side and a ton of talent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers correctly picked up his option.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a gigantic disappointment last season, finishing 5-11 a year after going 9-7. Much of the reason for the downturn in fortunes was Jameis Winston, who regressed in his third year at the helm. Still, general manager Jason Licht was correct in picking up Winston’s fifth-year option, which he did on Tuesday morning.
The option is good for $20.9 million and is injury guaranteed. Should Winston have another poor season and the Buccaneers decide to clean house, he can be released provided he can pass a physical.
The former first-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston threw for 3,504 yards with 19 touchdowns in only 13 games, missing three due to a shoulder injury. However, the former Florida State star also threw 11 interceptions and had an obscene 15 fumbles, seven of which were lost. At some point, Winston has to stop turning the ball over, or the positives will be washed away by the undeniable negatives.
Still, Tampa Bay has to exercise patience. The 24-year-old has an immense amount of talent, showcasing one of the best arms in the league. Additionally, Winston is a good leader and has the personality for the crucible that is NFL quarterback. If head coach Dirk Koetter can get him to be better with ball security, he will finally take the next leap.
Going into his fourth season, Winston has the chance to elevate the Buccaneers to a playoff contender, likely saving the jobs of Koetter and Licht. Then again, should turnovers persist, the noise will only start to grow around Winston.