Are the Buccaneers making a mistake letting Jameis Winston leave?

NFL Free Agency, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely to let Jameis Winston walk, are they making a mistake surrounding their starting quarterback’s impending free agency?

It looks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make Jameis Winston walk the plank.

Though it’s not a mutiny, it seems the Buccaneers aren’t as willing to bring their starting quarterback on a new deal as we thought. With the new CBA being approved by the NFLPA on Sunday, NFL teams can use either the franchise tag or the transition tag once this offseason, not both. We should expect defensive end Shaquil Barrett to be franchise tagged and not Winston.

After five years of highly entertaining, yet often frustrating quarterback play, it feels like Winston threw his last pass of his Buccaneers’ career. It was only fitting it was a pick-six on the first play of overtime to lose at home to the division rival Atlanta Falcons. This was also the interception that allowed Winston achieve the impossible of going 30/30 in 2020. We did not see that coming.

Despite being one of the most prolific passers in franchise history, and dare we say it, the most consistent quarterback the Buccaneers have arguably ever had, how sure are we it is the right time for Tampa Bay to move on from its former No. 1 overall pick? Are the Buccaneers making a huge mistake here?

Well, as Buccaneers head coach often says, “no risk it, no biscuit.” The Buccaneers need to cast away from Winston Island and chart a new course, one that does not involve nearly two shipwrecks per ball game. Winston can challenge for a starting quarterback job on teams like the Chicago Bears, the Las Vegas Raiders or the Los Angeles Chargers, but his time is up in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers just need to move on. Things will either improve or worsen without Winston, but they will not stay the same. If Tampa Bay gives up all its treasure to Tom Brady, but he’s no longer fit to captain an NFL franchise in his early-to-mid-40s, his arrival Tampa Bay could be abandon ship. Should Brady hit, then it’s “x” marks the spot, as the Buccaneers are back in the playoffs.

If Brady’s intentions to semi-retire in Florida aren’t pure, then the Buccaneers can go with the New Orleans Saints’ first mate in Teddy Bridgewater. He’s familiar with the NFC South and could get the Buccaneers to 9-7, maybe even 10-6 and vie for a playoff spot. Should the Miami native from succeeding in Arians’ vertical passing offense, Tampa Bay can draft someone else in 2021.

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Ultimately, the Buccaneers will either be good or terrible without Winston. It’s been a long time since this franchise has had a good team, so that would be welcomed. If they’re terrible, then it puts them in a better position to draft one of two franchise quarterbacks certain to enter the 2021 NFL Draft: Trevor Lawrence of Clemson or Justin Fields of Ohio State. Arians is the captain now.

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