Bucs head coach Bruce Arians took questions from the national media at the podium on Tuesday in Indianapolis, then briefly met with the local writers to discuss the future of quarterback Jameis Winston, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next month.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: PewterReport.com
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: PewterReport.com

But if anyone was expecting any definitive decision being revealed at the NFL Combine, they will have to keep waiting a little longer.

“We haven’t made that decision yet,” Arians said. “It is still up in the air.”

The Bucs haven’t ruled out keeping Winston, but are clearly keeping their options open.

Arians was asked what improvements he saw from Winston from the start of the season until his final game against the Falcons. Winston finished the season passing for a team-record 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns, but also led the league with 30 interceptions, including an NFL-record seven pick-sixes.

“I thought he progressed – (but) I would have hoped to have seen more,” Arians said. “Some of those mistakes in the last three or four games game – I would have liked to have seen erased. And hopefully they will be.”

Arians called Winston, who is entering a sixth year, “an unknown quantity, and was also asked about his comfort level with Winston as the Bucs quarterback.

“Oh yeah I feel fine, some things can be corrected,” said Arians, who also said that Winston had a disappointing December when he threw 10 of his 30 INTs in the final four games.

Following the season finale, Arians said part of the evaluation and decision on Winston’s return to Tampa Bay would come after seeing what other options are available in free agency and the NFL Draft. Arians reiterated that on Tuesday.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

“It’s amazing because you really don’t know who’s available until the [franchise] tags come out [March 12], and then you’ll know,” Arians said. “Then it’s a short window to talk to somebody. The legal tampering period, you don’t really know if the guy’s going to be on the market. All these quarterbacks out there, I think maybe two or three will be out there.

“It is really no different than any other position. But quarterback is really the premiere position. So you never thought you’d see a [Tom] Brady and [Drew] Brees names out there. And Drew is not really out there. What is (behind) door number 2?”

Bucs general manager Jason Licht would not rule out using the franchise tag on Winston, indicating that all options were on the table. Licht also agreed with Arians in that the Bucs will explore their options at the quarterback spot in what is a very unique year at the position in free agency.

Licht also said he would like to draft a quarterback this year, but not necessarily in the first round, indicating that QBs typically don’t win in their first year.

Arians continued to sport his poker face when asked if Winston could be the team’s quarterback in 2020

“He could be, he could be,” Arians said.

“When I know who else is available. We should know a lot next week.”

Patriots QB Tom Brady - Photo by: Getty Images
Patriots QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Getty Images

Following his appearance on the podium, Arians met with local reporters for a few minutes but didn’t really reveal anything new. But he did say there is definitely one quarterback he would pick up the phone for if he were to become available.

“Tom Brady.”

When asked about Philip Rivers, who is moving on from the Chargers organization, Arians said: “That’s another guy. We’ll see.”

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

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Austin Williams
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Austin Williams

Of course it is still up in the air, and he has a poker face.. The contract negotiations are on going and we have got to get that price as low as we reasonably can. Draft RT in 1st round and Winston will be just fine Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+30-29 Rating: +1. From 59 votes. Please wait...

LIBucsFan93
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LIBucsFan93

If the Bucs were committed to Winston 100% they would’ve said so already. There really isn’t any need for this drama. If the Bucs are 100% behind Winston they will tag him as soon as the Franchise/Transition Window opens and then work a new contract with his agent. Right now its’ 80/20 Winston is history in TB Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+28-13 Rating: +15. From 41 votes. Please wait...

BigSombrero
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BigSombrero

Did you hear? Tom Brady is coming to the Bucs! Bruce Arians said he would pick up the phone to call the greatest quarterback of all time if he is available!!! That must mean they’re secretly working on something! Tom Brady and this offense will be amazing. Brady will throw 40 touchdowns, 6000 yards with 0 interceptions with Bruce Arians! RoJo to the ProBowl with Brady feeding him passes! OJ Howard will finally be used correctly with Tom Brady throwing the passes! Plus Brady’s passes are impossible for OJ to drop or bobble into an interception!! Just trolling you. You’re… Read more »

twspin
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twspin

I hate this drama and suspense behind Winston. Reading your article here Mark sorta….leaves me with the impression Jameis will be back. Bucs could just shock the hell out of us and give jameis his walkin papers. I just believe Arians thinks Jameis is salvageable. If we really did go for Brady, we’d better beef up our Oline. Because a few hits and Brady is down for the season. Yes, he’s still good. But you sure as hell better protect him like Fort Knox. He ain’t got many more hits left. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+12-5 Rating: +7. From… Read more »

LIBucsFan93
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LIBucsFan93

Difference between Brady and Winston is simple. Brady can read defenses pre snap and get rid of the ball quickly, accurately and on time. The OL does need some upgrades but any QB is better than Mr. One Read Panic Attack Turnover Machine. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+30 Rating: +3. From 3 votes. Please wait...

Dman
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Dman

Ian Rapaport [sp] reported that BA said they have made a decision, but have not communicated that to Winston. He also reported they are expected to meet with Winton’s agent tomorrow. Said this on NFL network earlier this afternoon. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+8-3 Rating: +5. From 11 votes. Please wait...

ScottC543
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ScottC543

okay, I’m not the best at reading between the lines when someone says anything, but that quote of BA seems to me like JW will be back: “Some of those mistakes in the last three or four games game – I would have liked to have seen erased. And hopefully they will be.” Hopefully they will be. Would he say that if (in his mind) Winston wasn’t going to be a Buc? Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+7-4 Rating: +3. From 11 votes. Please wait...

Austin Williams
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Austin Williams

Well that scares me… Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+6-1 Rating: +5. From 7 votes. Please wait...

LVBUC2
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LVBUC2

I read it different. If the Bucs wanted Jameis back they would be saying that he is the man, He is our QB, can’t wait for next season to start. Instead they are saying lets see what else is out there. He is as good as gone. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+14-5 Rating: +9. From 19 votes. Please wait...

bucballer
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bucballer

So… u wanna hang the Bucs future on a 43 year old QB? Trust me, there’s no future in that! Brady is one hit away, one shoulder injury, one knee injury away from calling it a career. There is no rehab or coming back when ur 43… ur done! So, let’s just put the Brady to Tampa talk to bed right now! It’s just stupid! Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+8-12 Rating: -4. From 20 votes. Please wait...

Alldaway 2.0
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Alldaway 2.0

Bucs want Winston back but on a team friendly deal. Bucs are doing their due diligence in the event that Winston’s camp has a high ball figure. Bucs organization and players like Winston. But the price has to be right. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+13-4 Rating: +9. From 17 votes. Please wait...

Dan McLaughlin
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Dan McLaughlin

If they made a decision, are meeting with his agent tomorrow, feel fine with Jameis, and expect mistakes corrected. Guess what? Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+4-1 Rating: +3. From 5 votes. Please wait...

BigSombrero
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BigSombrero

Does Winston WANT to come back? I haven’t heard him say he does. I haven’t heard him speak volumes about how great it was working with QB whisperer Bruce Arians. What if Jameis WInston thinks Arians is the reason for all the interceptions? What if Winston looks at all the other Arians QBs who threw tons of INTs? WHat if Winston thinks Arians hurt his value in a contract year? What if Winston hates playing for Tampa fans who never really respected him from day 1? What if Winston wants to play for a winning organization that he gets to… Read more »

Spitfire
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Spitfire

I just want to find out which direction the team is going so we can start getting excited for whatever next year is going to hold. So many good things started to happen last year and this year is gonna be even better. I can’t wait for FA and the Draft and on and on and on Hahaha. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+20 Rating: +2. From 2 votes. Please wait...

BigSombrero
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BigSombrero

What if Winston is of the opinion that if he is stuck playing in Tampa, then he will only sign for a max deal, thus the impasse and talk of door number 2? What if Winston is willing to take his show to Chicago, just like Buc-Ass-Bob wants him to, knowing he wins that job over Trubisky and lights it up next season. Chicago fans won’t give a shit about crab legs jokes. What if Winston wants to play for a black head coach again? He was awfully upset when Lovie was fired after his rookie season. What if Winston… Read more »

dbenn2012
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dbenn2012

Let’s be honest, here. The Bucs could franchise Winston, Pursue Brady with a home in the hamptons and zero income tax for him and his wife and he still will probably go for the big market in California, Los Vegas, etc. Negotiations will heat up this week, at least for both sides making their offers – offense and defense. “Legal Tampering” with free agents – agents will being and the Bucs will see who is “really available” behind the quote door number 2. In my humble opinion only it will depend on Shaq B. If they are in the ball… Read more »

BucRy
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BucRy

This waiting game is killing me, at least this offseason is exciting and interesting. Really can’t wait to see what the bucs decide to do. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+50 Rating: +5. From 5 votes. Please wait...

Alldaway 2.0
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Alldaway 2.0

Yes it is possible Winston wants a new fresh start and leaves. But right now I think both sides just want to explore what is out there and then decided to meet if both sides agree on a deal. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+3-1 Rating: +2. From 4 votes. Please wait...

Dman
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Dman

Been reading around the web and to hear BA, Jameis isn’t his first choice. That’s either a negotiating position or he’s tired of the inconsistency. Who knows, think it’s about the misinformation teams do ahead of the combine, FA and draft. I agree with a number of posters, if they really wanted Winston, a deal would already be in the works. Just doesn’t seem that way. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+90 Rating: +9. From 9 votes. Please wait...

Pit of misery
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Pit of misery

If they can sign who they really want they will . If not they will keep America’s turnover machine…. very simple language to me… Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating+7-2 Rating: +5. From 9 votes. Please wait...

BigSombrero
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BigSombrero

@pitofmisery Who is it that they really want? Do tell. I’d love for America’s Premiere QB whisperer and his “Risk it” offense bringing in someone better suited. Maybe Tampa fans like you will get what you crave and deserve…Phillip Rivers or Blaine Gabbert or Derek Carr or Joe Flacco or Matt Schaub or Andy Dalton or Marcus Mariota or Jacob Eason. Welcome back to the pit of misery where offensive weapons that have expiring contracts immediately leave(Godwin and Howard). One year wonders cease to impress(RoJo and Barrett). Veterans avoid this team for fear of closing their career with a chump… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
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Alldaway 2.0

Same situation with the Raiders. They will look around but if not stick with Carr. Cousins is in his final year of the deal and the Vikes may let him play it out instead of extending him because his agent is asking for the same guaranteed money like last time. However, the Vikings FO doesn’t feel the same way. The Titans have a slew of UFAs with L. Ryan, Tannehill, Henry and Conklin. Titans either choose to keep Tannehill or they can re-sign Ryan, Henry and Conklin. But that means Tannehill hits the open market. QB situation across the league… Read more »

scubog
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scubog

Just because we aren’t privy to any conversations between Winston’s agent and the Bucs doesn’t mean they haven’t been having them. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

nmkinley
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nmkinley

Arians is not stupid, and he knows that anything and everything he states publicly can and will be used against him. He also knows that Jameis, his agents, and the agents for all other QB’s are listening as well. He should not show his hand either way – and I am glad that he has not in the above interview. It is called leverage for negotiations. This uncertainty will drop the price that Jameis should be willing to take if they choose to bring him back. It will also let FA QB’s know that JW is still in play for… Read more »