Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s big game on Sunday wasn’t enough to make him the Buccaneers’ permanent starting quarterback, at least according to the oddsmakers.
The online betting site Bovada lists Jameis Winston as a -300 favorite to start the Buccaneers’ Week Four game after serving his three-game suspension. That means you’d have to bet $300 to win $100 if Winston does start in Week Four, while a $100 bet on Fitzpatrick at +200 odds would yield a $200 payoff.
But while Winston may still be the favorite, Fitzpatrick is not a bad bet: His outstanding performance in Sunday’s win over the Saints would be almost impossible for him to repeat this week against the Eagles and next week against the Steelers, but if he plays even close to that well, it’s hard to see the Buccaneers benching him.
There’s also the fact that the Buccaneers’ Week Three game is on Monday night, which means that Winston can’t return to the team until Tuesday of Week Four, when he’ll be on a short work week. The Bucs may decide that a short work week is the wrong time to give the job back to Winston.
And one other consideration for the Buccaneers is Winston’s contract: His $20.9 million salary next year is guaranteed for injury only, which means the Buccaneers could cut or trade him and not have to pay him another dime, but if he suffers an injury this year that prevents him from passing a physical next year, they’re on the hook for the full $20.9 million salary. If the Bucs aren’t completely sold on Winston as their franchise quarterback, they might decide it doesn’t make any sense to put him back on the field and risk incurring that $20.9 million injury guarantee.
So don’t be surprised if Fitzpatrick is under center when the Buccaneers play their Week Four game against the Bears. Even if Winston is the favorite.