It’s been a long time coming for Jameis Winston, who went an awful long way to cinching, at the very least, the team’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal that will pay him $20.92 million in 2019. But whether the Bucs’ brass will explore a multiyear deal with the former No. 1 overall pick, and preclude him from entering free agency in 2020, is another discussion entirely. But on Sunday, against the 49ers, he performed like the quarterback they thought they drafted four years ago when he struck for two touchdowns and 312 yards in Tampa’s 27-9 victory on Sunday.
The oddsmakers at the major offshore sportsbooks tagged the Bucs as 1.5 point home favorites against the hapless Niners, which says all you need to know about public perception of our hometown team. Speaking of point spreads, if you have ever wondered how to bet on sports, all you need to do is click the link and head on over to Sportsbook Review. There you will find an easy to read guide that even the novice can understand. In it, you will read about flat wagers using money lines, point spreads, teasers, parlays, and more. It will take all the mystery and intimidation out of putting a few bucks on the team of your choice, replete with a list of the most reputable online sportsbooks. It’s one thing to sweat the bet, but never the payout.
Getting back to Winston, he has been a mercurial member of the team and at times his natural athletic gifts are a wonder to behold. Yet, far too often his decision making has left fans bewildered, frustrated, and questioning his ability to lead a team at the professional level.
No one summed up Winston’s tenure in Tampa better than Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter when he said: “Jameis wasn’t perfect, but he played a good game. I’m proud of him. It’s been a difficult road. He sees what that looks like. He needs to consistently play like that and he can be one of the best.”
The question Tampa Bay management needs to answer is, will his maturation in the league evolve or has he hit his peak? A win over a 2-9 team like the 49ers is not exactly a calling card to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, he once flashed all the skills necessary to succeed in the league and has the speed to roll out of the pocket and run to the edge with the best of them. His performance against San Francisco was in stark contrast to the 11 turnovers in 14 quarters he delivered before being benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bucs are understandably hesitant about locking Winston up for another four to five years not knowing if he will continue to be erratic or will gradually ascend to that next level quarterback of the future.
After 12 weeks the Bucs are slated to draft somewhere in the top 10 if the season ended today. In order to start from scratch and consider Winston a volatile pick that reaped its share of rewards but also more than a few headaches, the Bucs would have to tap another young gun in the first round and cross their collective fingers that he turns out better than Winston. It’s a process the Bucs would prefer to avoid and focus instead on improving more pressing needs, such as anywhere on defense.
Winston has demonstrated he has an innate ability but what he needs is a mentor and someone who will work with him to consistently elevate his game and fulfill his potential. Maybe that’s a new head coach, quarterback coach, offensive coordinator, or maybe there will be continued progress with Koetter. But what we do know is that Winston will likely be in Tampa Bay next year and if he comes to play every day like he did against San Francisco, he could very well be in a Bucs’ uniform for years to come.