We are about a month out from the NFL’s franchise tag deadline, so naturally, the Jameis Winston conversation is going to become increasingly louder.
So far, there’s hardly been any word on negotiations between Winston and the Bucs. It’s worth to take note that there have been indications as to what the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans plan to do when it comes to their quarterback situations, but there hasn’t been any word about Winston or the Bucs.
Sources: Cowboys likely to use franchise tag on Dak Prescott as contract talks remain at impasse.https://t.co/0DJz4Srw91— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2020
From @mortreport “Ryan Tannehill is not leaving the Titans.” They love Ryan in Tennessee.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) February 2, 2020
But let’s ditch the speculation. We were just getting our toes wet with that.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times put out a piece this past Saturday that began with some rather interesting news about the Bucs and how they are handling the current mystery (at least on our end) that is Winston’s contract situation.
There were two things Stroud said that really caught my eye:
It’s not every day a quarterback coach is asked to write a scouting report on these players:
Tom Brady, 42.
Drew Brees, 41.
Philip Rivers, 38.
And yet that’s exactly what Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen was working on last week. - Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times
The Bucs plan to select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL draft. - Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times
Let’s go ahead and start with statement numero uno. So, the Bucs are in fact looking at the possibility of going after guys like Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees.
While the thought of that is very tempting, it wouldn’t make much sense in the long run for Tampa Bay. The Bucs have a lot of free agents they have to re-sign and some of those guys were key pieces in 2019 that could help the team move forward in both the long-term and the short-term. Signing one of those vets will most likely be as much or more than franchising Winston in 2020. That would eliminate the possibility of re-signing a lot of those guys, especially the key ones. Plus, you could be left with another question at quarterback as soon as 2021. There’s no guarantee either one of the guys would sign a contract that wouldn’t have some kind of option or void language for the following year.
It’s a risk that could backfire, but if the Bucs do in fact draft a quarterback as a contingency/future-starter plan, then it would certainly make sense.
Which brings us to Stroud’s second selected quote.
It sounds like the Bucs are indeed going to draft a quarterback in 2020. It’s a good decision to do this no matter what happens with Winston. The pros are pretty obvious.
Now, this is speculation on my end, but it does involve educated guesses, so take that as you will.
If the Bucs do in fact franchise Winston, then they will likely spend a what, 4th-7th round draft pick on a quarterback? That wouldn’t be too much of an investment in terms of draft capital. This is key because the Bucs could possibly be a playoff team with Winston at the helm in 2020. Avoiding a high draft pick on a quarterback that may sit an entire year and instead using it on a player that is more likely to contribute would be wise.
If the Bucs do in fact let Winston walk and sign one of the aforementioned veterans, then they would probably grab a quarterback in the early rounds, which would make sense. That way, whenever the veteran is done playing, the Bucs will have an inexpensive guy who was able to sit on the bench for a couple years and learn behind a future Hall of Famer.
And, of course, there are cons, too. The veteran could in fact be washed out and become a massive liability cap-wise during the short stint in Tampa Bay. That could rush the Bucs to start their guy early, which could hurt his development.
Winston could flame out in 2020 and prove that he’s not the guy at quarterback for the Bucs. That would leave them with a low-round draft pick and likely in a spot where they’ll need to spend a high draft pick on a quarterback in 2021, anyway. That would give the organization another sense of rebuilding, a sense that has been felt all to often in recent history.
This all may sound a bit frightening, but don’t worry your precious head(s). The beauty of both these scenarios is that there won’t be any guessing as to what will happen. The Bucs have to make a decision on Winston by March 10, so they will be able to go into free agency and the draft with the knowledge of what is best for the team.
The big picture in all of this, though, is that the Bucs are being responsible and doing their due diligence when it comes to the matter at hand. There’s a lot of comfort in the fact that this team is keeping all options open and appears ready to handle anything that may come its way.
Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.
Translation: It’s a Bucs Life.
Click here to read Stroud’s article for full context of what I was referring to in the post.