Jameis Winston threw for 5,109 yards this season, better than any quarterback in 2019 and eighth best all-time. He also passed for 33 touchdowns, second only to likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson’s 36.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be crazy not to keep a guy like that.
But Winston also threw for a league-high 30 interceptions, nine more than the quarterback with the next highest total, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, and tied for seventh most all-time. And seven of those picks were returned for touchdowns, including the one that ended the game in overtime Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Buccaneers would be crazy to keep a guy like that.
Winston is the first NFL player to have 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season — and that, in a nutshell, is the conundrum the Buccaneers face with Winston set to become an unrestricted free agent during the offseason.
The Buccaneers have plenty of options if they decide to keep him. They could place the franchise or transition tags on him or simply attempt to sign him to an extension.
Coach Bruce Arians said the team wouldn’t rush to any decisions. After all, Winston has given the organization plenty to think about.
“There’s so much good, and there’s some outright terrible,” Arians said Sunday of Winston’s overall performance. “We’ve got to weigh that and see what happens. There’s a lot more that goes into it than just interceptions. It will be a full evaluation.”
Winston said: “I’ve got to stop giving the ball to the other team. It’s not a trick question. I know if I eliminate those [interceptions], I’m going to be the best, bar none.”
In other words, Winston knows what he needs to do. But can he do it? And are the Buccaneers willing to give him the opportunity to do so?