Buccaneers’ posturing with Jameis Winston could create a problem

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The NFL is a better place when Bruce Arians is coaching in it. But Arians should consider treading more lightly with his public comments regarding quarterback Jameis Winston.

It’s clear what Arians is trying to do. It’s a given that coaches and General Managers shouldn’t publicly heap praise on a player who is due to be paid, or they’ll end up paying the player even more. Arians seems to be taking that mindset to the next level, expressing indifference in an effort to further enhance the team’s bargaining position, whenever negotiations begin on a new deal. (As PFT reported over the weekend, no talks have commenced between the Buccaneers and the first overall pick in the 2015 draft.)

“If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too,” Arians said Monday regarding the team’s current quarterback. Arians previously assessed Winston’s historic 30-and-30 season as “so much good and so much outright terrible.”

The Buccaneers hope that their ambivalence regarding a guy who has taken Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” mantra to the extreme will keep other teams from developing an interest in Winston, who generated the eighth best passing yardage performance in league history, with  5,109. The top 20 all-time passing yardage seasons consists of a who’s who of Hall of Famers, MVPs, and franchise quarterbacks. Although Winston may never be any of those, he deserves more respect than what he’s currently getting from the Buccaneers.

What if Winston decides that he wants to play for a team that embraces the good and tolerates the “outright terrible”? Or, even better, what if there’s a team that has an effective plan for minimizing the mistakes? Again, he threw for 5,109 yards this season. In a pass-happy league, there’s considerable merit in that.

Ideally (from the Buccaneers’ perspective), Winston will have no other options, allowing the Bucs to keep him around for something far closer to $20 million than $35 million per year. If a team like (spitballing) the Dolphins or the Bengals or the Chargers or the Raiders or the Panthers (if they move on from Cam Newton) or the Saints (if Drew Brees retires) develops an interest in Winston, the Bucs may have to apply the franchise tag or the transition tag, if they want to keep him.

And that’s when things could get even more interesting. Typically, franchise-tagged quarterbacks don’t exercise their right to boycott all offseason and preseason activities, showing up and signing the tender just before the start of the regular season. What if Winston decides to fight hardball with hardball, saying “see you in September” if the Bucs tag him in March?

That’s why the Buccaneers need to be careful on this one. If they want Winston, they should work out a fair contract for keeping him in place, without delay or gamesmanship. If they don’t want him, then they should let him walk away — or, if they can pull it off, tag him and trade him. Either way, publicly assuming a glass-half-empty posture with a guy who just threw for more passing yards than anyone not named Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, or Ben Roethlisberger could be the kind of “risk it” that definitely keeps the Bucs from getting their biscuit.

32 responses to “Buccaneers’ posturing with Jameis Winston could create a problem

  1. He’s a coach killer. Even most of the great plays he makes are 50/50 balls his receiver comes up with. Against the Falcons he threw a dime into triple coverage with an amazing throw that was complete making everyone immediately forget he’d just thrown into triple coverage. The game ending play, he stared down his TE and gave Deion Jones an easy read for the pick 6. Winston has been making bad decisions on and off the field since he was at FSU. If another team wants him for a test drive, try for a one year prove it deal. Tampa would be wise to only tag him for a one year deal to see if he improves with another year under Arians.

  2. Again with the stats. I don’t care if he threw for 10k yards, anyone who watches him play can see that if you can win with him, you can win with anyone. You take too much in a vacuum, and with Arians I am not even sure it has a single thing to do with his contract. I think it is an honest evaluation of what he’s got. (Paraphrasing) Some good things and a whole lot of terrible.

  3. Arians doesn’t care, nor should he. That’s the entire point. Winston lost more games than he won. This isn’t exactly rocket science. Arians is not in love with Winston, and neither is anyone else. 20 TDs and 5 picks is WAAAAAAAAAYY better than 30 and 30.

  4. If he didn’t have Evans and Godwin his stat line would be closer to 15 TD 45 INT.

    If you ever watch Bucs games his WRs constantly leap into the air and yank the ball away from DBs.

    At least half the QBs in the league could throw for 5,000+ yards with those WRs and Arians calling plays.

  5. Fitzpatrick had a better season with the Dolphins with a worse supporting cast. Winston is able to produce with bad decisions just like Johnny Manziel did, because he’s got Mike Evans to bail him out along with a ton of other talented receivers. Put him on another team and his 30/30 season becomes 10/50.

  6. A pick is rated at a point differential of 5.7, meaning a pick results in a point swing of just under two field goals; one you did not get and one the other team did. His 30 picks, over the season, resulted in a point differential of a total of 171 points. That translates to a per game differential of 10.7.
    How many teams can win a majority of their games when their qb is giving up the equivalent of 10 points per game? That is why turnover differential is so important.

  7. Does anyone including Arians believe he can take a team to the SB? The great majority would answer no. So why would the Bucs, or anyone else for that matter, pay him a starters salary?

  8. Chuck and duck QBs are a dime a dozen.
    Why would anyone want to pay mega bucks for a guy who just throws up jump balls ?
    The Bucs should let him walk and hope someone signs him so they can get a 3rd round compensatory pick.

  9. Wouldnt it be ironic if Winston and Garrett both ended up working at the same Shop-N-Go when the season starts later this year?

  10. This article is an April Fool’s gag, isn’t it? Whoops, it’s New Year. I have no dog in this fight, but nobody is going to win with Winston. Sloppy, stupid plays right and left. Reminds me of why Josh McDaniels was so desperate to get rid of Jay Cutler against the wishes of ownership (even though Cutler could look brilliant on occasion). Another untrustworthy gunslinger with no football smarts.

  11. What team that expects to finish 10-6 or better can survive 2 interceptions/game? Winning teams need to have a smart QB with talent, Winston only gives you 1 of those. Tag goes to Barret, bring back Winston on $12-$15Mil/yr. deal when no other team wants him.

  12. My god I want to see him go to the open market. And I want to see if there’s actually a team that would sign him to be their starter. And see that fan base lose their minds.

  13. Yea right the Bucs need to be careful Arians went 5-3 with Drew Stanton as a QB in Arizona. So tell me who really is the important piece of this puzzle. Winston or Arians. I think we all know the answer to this question so who needs to be careful here!

  14. Interesting. Of the top 5 passing yards leaders in the NFL this year, zero made the playoffs.

    Not sure passing yards is a good indicator of a successful QB.

  15. Jameis Winston has not been, is not, and never will be a successful NFL starting QB. Who cares how many yards he threw for? He’s careless with the ball and that is the worst possible trait in a QB.

    No team can seriously envision winning a championship with a QB who turns the ball over at the rate Winston does and will. Winston has to go if the Bucs want to be relevant.

    Arians can win more with a QB who throws for 3,000 yards and doesn’t turn the ball over than with Winston and his 5,000 yards.

  16. He could have produced the most yards ever in a single season and I’d still be unimpressed. He put up the tenth most interceptions in a season, throwing more than anyone else has in 31 years.

    Go ahead. Pay the man. You’ll live to regret it. He’s not a winner on, or off, the field.

  17. No team is going to be dumb enough to pay Jameis $35M. Now Jerruh might but he’s got his own over-rated QB who he’ll give $35M.

  18. Hey party people the Bucs won 7 games THE KICKER LOST 3 games himself that would make them 10-6 and if the defense stopped Seattle just once they win 11 NO MATTER what Winston did

  19. If Winston throws the same number of interceptions as he does TDs, just play him half the time.

  20. Can Bruce Arians take a team to the SB as HC? That’s the bigger question. Carson Palmer was in the 20 for 20 club with (22 TDs/20 ints) for the THIRD time (26/20 in 2010 & 2007). The league wasn’t as pass happy then. Palmer did eventually become more efficient. Arians needs to cool the rhetoric and deal with the fact he has a QB similar to Palmer whom he loved so dearly. Just gotta do your job and coach him up.

  21. Remember both Payton Manning and Carson Palmer threw their career highs their first years in Arians offense. It’s just how it is. He will do better next year in the same offense. He hasn’t has any time to build in a coache’s offense getting new coaches every year.

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