Dirk Koetter is now the former head coach of the rudderless ship in Tampa Bay, but Jameis Winston stands to make nearly $21 million to continue plying his trade in front of the fans Raymond James Stadium. The question as to whether the team would trigger the fifth-year extension on the former No. 1 overall pick’s rookie pact was answered quickly, which put to rest any lingering questions as to whether Winston would be cut loose or remain with the Bucs in 2019.
Winston picked the perfect time to have a big day in the season finale against the Falcons by firing four touchdowns for 345 passing yards and engineered a rally that brought the Bucs back from an 11-point deficit to a one-point lead all within the span of the final five minutes. However, as we’ve seen many times over the course of the season, the Tampa Bay defense withered and the Falcons closed out a 34-32 victory, which punctuated another disappointing 5-11 season for the Bucs.
One man who wasn’t rewarded with riches for a job hardly done was Koetter, whose tenure as the Bucs’ head coach ended after three seasons. If you click on over to Sportsbook Review, they have a sports betting guide where you can learn how to bet on games but they also offer interesting proposition wagers like odds on who the next coach of the Bucs will be from some of the most respected and trusted online sportsbooks.
Speaking of head coaches, there will be one prerequisite of the next man in the big chair –Winston will be under center and there’s no room for discussion. That’s what general manager Jason Licht explained on Monday: “Jameis is someone we hold in high regard here. There’s a lot to like about Jameis. He will be here next year. Based on the texts and phone calls and emails I’ve been getting since roughly 8:00 last night, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”
No one doubts that Winston has the natural athletic ability to succeed at the pro level yet what we’ve seen is four years of highs and lows. But what we haven’t seen much of out of Winston is consistency and enough wins. There’s a maturation process that normally takes hold after a few years as a professional but at age 25, Winston hasn’t quite hit his emotional stride. A new head coach will need to make an immediate connection and be viewed as a mentor to a talented player whose decisions on and off the field make him suspect as the long-term solution under center for Tampa Bay. It’s hard not to notice that although Winston’s extension was triggered, a new long-term pact has not been tendered.
Although Licht escaped the axe this year, he too will be under a microscope next season. The Bucs have gone 27-53 under his reign and it appears as though our friendly executive is feeling the heat.
“I just have to do a better job,” Licht said. “It [falls] on me. I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to do a better job of the overall operation of the football team and I make no bones about that.”
A better job indeed as Bucs fans are now beyond restless and the clock is ticking on Winston, Licht, and any other member of the Bucs’ brass not named Glazer. Another disappointing end to another frustrating season will signal either a re-commitment to excellence or more of the same. The 2019 season begins in earnest with the hiring of Koetter’s replacement.