When the Buccaneers and Titans drafted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota with the first and second picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, both teams thought they had found their franchise quarterbacks.
Well, a little over a week from now, Mariota will likely be sitting on the bench when the Titans host the Bucs. Winston will probably still find himself playing and starting, but it may be the first of his last 10 games with the franchise that drafted him.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, “several front office sources” have told him that the Bucs - and the Titans - are expected to “reset their sights” at the quarterback position.
Jameis/Mariota era over?— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) October 18, 2019
Several front-office sources tell @mikefreemanNFL the Titans and Bucs are expected to “reset their sights” at QB through a trade or the draft.
The No. 1 and No. 2 picks from 2015 are “likely” done as “franchise leaders.” pic.twitter.com/AOfgFx4IXH
Obviously, the Bucs’ front office is the only one that matters when it comes to which front office is speaking with Freeman, but it’s also obvious that Winston hasn’t done enough for a second contract. It’s very easy to see why this would be an opinion of many front offices in the NFL.
Winston has struggled with turnovers and inconsistency throughout his career. He was also suspended for three games in 2018 for allegedly groping an Uber driver one night in 2016. The NFL can ban him from the league if he violates the personal conduct policy again, which will certainly be a consideration when teams pursue him. If the Bucs decide to let him go, of course.
But he’ll also be 26 in 2020 and has shown the ability to be a capable starter in the NFL if he can correct his decision making and other traits. He’s always willing to work, so if he lands in the right spot, there’s a possibility that he becomes the quarterback the Bucs envisioned back in 2015. There’s always the chance that he proves himself over the next 10 games and stays with the Bucs, as well.
Whatever happens, there Bucs’ future is tied directly to the result. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.