The days of rookie player holdouts virtually ended following the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association as rookie salaries are basically set on a sliding scale. Still the Buccaneers – and Winston – are free of that detail after the two sides banged out a deal in the early morning hours and Winston officially signed his rookie contract on Friday morning.
Winston signed a four-year deal worth $25.35-million with a $16.7-million signing bonus. With Winston being a first-round pick, the Buccaneers have the option of picking up a fifth year at the team’s discretion.
“It’s unbelievable,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said regarding getting Winston signed. “[Bucs director of administration] Mike Greenberg, I have to give props to him, and also to Jameis’ people. They did a great job of yesterday hammering that out. It shows us that he wants us as much as we wanted him. He signed it today.
“It’s something we wanted to do, and they had no reluctancy about doing it. It was fairly smooth. We wanted Jameis to start off on the right foot, and there’s no reason to punish Jameis. He’s going to be treated fairly contractually in terms of money just like any other pick.”
On Friday, while being introduced to the Tampa By media, Winston talked about having the contract out of the way.
“I’m so happy it’s over and now I can focus on playing football,” Winston said.
When asked what he was going to do with his immediate fortune, Winston said he doesn’t play football for money. He plays for the love of the game.
“I’m rich on happiness,” Winston said. “That’s the only thing I’m worried about – taking care of my family. I’m not motivated by money, not at all. I have brothers in that locker room that might not be in situations that I’m in. And I have people in that locker room that have worked and been in this league longer than me. I’m trying to be old playing this game one day. That’s what motivates me, to never stop being the best player I can possibly be. Not money.”
Winston revealed that the first thing he bought with some of his NFL money was a chair for his ailing grandmother.
“I already bought my grandmother a chair,” Winston said. “A lift chair, so that was the most important thing to me. She actually was sitting on a wooden box with a pillow stacked on the chair. My money is going to be for my family; I’m not motivated by it. I’m motivated by my love for the game.
“My grandmother might not be able to travel to Tampa. I will use my money to buy her Direct TV so she can watch every one of the games.”
Licht is excited to have Winston under contract before the team’s rookie mini-camp next week.
“We didn’t want to be in the position to have the first overall pick, but we’re going to take advantage of it,” Licht said. “Anytime you have the chance to take the number one player on your board, and he happens to be a quarterback, you’re beyond excited. And we’re confident in this guy. This guy is going to lead us to great things.”
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
Welcome to Tampa Bay,Mr. Winston.Go ‘Bucs !!!!!
The kid wants to get to work. I suppose the haters will spin that as well?
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