It’s never a bad time for Jameis Winston-related news, right?
Even though the 2020 NFL Combine is this week, news concerning the Bucs and Winston still managed to find its way out of Indianapolis and onto the Twitterverse.
Our own Gil Arcia already highlighted Bruce Arians’ comments about wanting a winning quarterback earlier today. Well, not too long after Gil hit publish, the Athletic’s Greg Auman added a layer to the story:
Arians said he has not spoken with Jameis Winston in this offseason, but doesn’t always talk to players a lot this time of year. “We’ve texted a couple of times. That’s it.”— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
All of this stays in line with what we’ve heard from Arians in the past. Talks are just that right now - talks. He wants to keep all options open and there is nothing wrong with that.
But what makes the timing of this interesting is the fact that the window to designate franchise/transition tags opens today. It won’t close until March 10, so the Bucs have plenty of time to make a decision on what they want to do when it comes to using the tag.
And from where I’m standing, they are going to take as long as possible to make said decision.
That’s because - as Arians pointed out - the Bucs want all options on the table. They want to see who is going to become a free agent. They want to watch the quarterbacks at this week’s combine.
They also have to figure out who they want to use the tag on in 2020. Let’s be honest, the Bucs could tag Shaquil Barrett, which would leave Winston with either a long-term deal or on the free agent market.
And based off of what Arians told Scott Smith of buccaneers.com, that scenario is a very realistic one:
Bruce Arians on being so adamant about retaining Shaq Barrett while still considering options at QB: “One is the sack leader and they’re hard to find. And I know he wants to be in this defense. The other is an unknown quantity to me still.”— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) February 25, 2020
Now, this doesn’t mean that the Bucs don’t want Winston on the team. It also doesn’t mean they don’t want him if they wait until March 9 to tag him. It’s simply a matter of deciding what is best for the team.
The Bucs are obviously on sun dial instead of stopwatch when it comes to this decision, as well they should be. The wrong choice could take the franchise in an entirely different direction as opposed to the correct one.
The end is nigh, but the journey is still ongoing. We will get there soon enough.
EDIT: Due to the uncertainty with the CBA negotiations, the window in which teams can put the franchise tag or transition tag on players will now start Feb. 27 and end March 12, instead of starting Feb. 25 and ending March 10.