The Buccaneers haven’t declared their intentions for pending free agent quarterback Jameis Winston.
But as they’ve continued to negotiate since the end of the season, coach Bruce Arians keeps floating reminders that it’s not Winston-or-nothing.
Arians even went to a length most coaches won’t, and mentioned names of possible replacements if it got to that point.
Via Greg Auman of TheAthletic.com, Arians was asked if there were quarterbacks he’d pick up the phone to call in free agency.
If the NFL was ever serious about enforcing tampering rules, what Arians did there would likely be a violation. But the league clearly doesn’t care, so we’ll accept Arians being forthright at face value, and appreciate the fact he won’t insult our intelligence by pretending not to know the specifics of the market and who’s in it. That’s also probably more of a general statement about the market rather than a ranking of targets.
He also said he hasn’t talked to Winston very much since the end of the season, but that’s not unusual in January in and February.
Either way, he clearly wants to get some clarity on the situation soon.
“When the dominoes start falling, other guys are going to be on the market,” he said of quarterbacks. “How long? I don’t want to drag it out very long. It’s one thing I’d like to get done soon. We’ll see.”
He also didn’t seem to be fond of adding multiple quarterbacks.
“If you have competition at quarterback, you probably don’t have one,” he said. “That’s always been my philosophy. Whoever’s our quarterback is our quarterback.”
And if it’s not Winston, he clearly has some ideas.