Jameis Winston will likely remain in Tampa Bay for the 2020 season. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Buccaneers are expected to bring back the quarterback next season.
However, it’s uncertain how the organization will go about retaining the former first overall pick. “Barring an unlikely early contract,” Rapoport notes that the Buccaneers will have the option of using either the franchise tag or the transition tag (this is thanks to it being the final offseason of the current CBA). If an opposing team signs a franchised player to an offer sheet, they have to surrender a pair of first-rounders. An opposing team doesn’t need to send compensation if they sign a transition-tagged player to an offer sheet.
This is especially relevant for the Buccaneers, as sack-leader Shaquil Barrett is also set to hit free agency this offseason. As Rapoport notes, the projected franchise tag for quarterbacks is $27M vs. $25M for the transition tag. Meanwhile, the franchise tag for linebackers (and, presumably, Barrett) is $16M vs. the $14M transition tag.
Earlier this month, coach Bruce Arians refused to commit to Winston beyond this season. However, a bit has changed over the past few weeks. The quarterback has thrown for more than 400 yards in back-to-back games, and Tampa Bay can extend its winning streak to five against the Texans on Saturday. Winston has already set career-highs in passing yards (4,573) and touchdowns (30), but he’s also set a new mark in interceptions (24).