Buccaneers Plan to Bring Back Jameis Winston in 2020

Liam McKeone
Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston / Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

This season was a make-it-or-break-it year for Jameis Winston. The former No. 1 overall pick has been the definition of inconsistent over the course of his young career so far; for every off-balance but perfectly-placed deep ball, he'd throw two head-scratching interceptions. The franchise didn't extend Winston going into the final year of his contract and brought in noted QB guru Bruce Arians to see if Winston's flaws could be kept in check enough to allow his talents to shine.

Well, it worked. Sort of. Winston has shown enough this year that the Bucs plan to bring him back for 2020, as reported by Ian Rapoport.

A long-term contract does not seem to be in the cards, as Rapoport notes that the Bucs seem likely to use either the transition tag or the franchise tag on Winston. This seems to be the right move, because the jury is still out on the Florida State product. While Winston has been putting up some historic numbers, he hasn't fixed his turnover issue at all-- between the interceptions and the fumbles, he's been responsible for 29 turnovers by himself this season.

Tampa Bay definitely has something here. Winston's familiarity in the Arians system, combined with Chris Godwin's breakout, should make for a very dangerous offense next season. If he can keep the interception count to even below 20, he's an above-average starter whose capable of putting up video game numbers any given week. The franchise tag might be a little high, considering there hasn't been any proof that he can indeed keep the interceptions in check. He'd make $27 million on the franchise tag next year, which slots him at the same salary as Matthew Stafford.

The potential is clearly there, though, and the Bucs don't have an obvious replacement in the wings. They won't end up with a high enough draft pick to even potentially steal a sliding Tua Tagovailoa, much less one of the other upper-echelon QB prospects in this year's draft. At the very least, Winston will be a good bridge while the team looks for a potential successor. But at only 25, Winston could be around for a while yet if he can figure it out.