Thank you, next.
The Buccaneers officially have a new quarterback, and seemingly are using the opportunity to take parting shots at former signal-caller Jameis Winston.
An article on the Buccaneers’ website detailing the announcement is a Tom Brady love-fest that mentions 26-year-old Winston’s name in just one paragraph, but only to shame the former No. 1 pick’s disappointing career in Tampa.
“Brady replaces Jameis Winston as the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback, with Winston also becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time,” Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com writes. “In his fifth and final season at the helm in Tampa Bay, Winston threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns but was also intercepted 30 times, with seven of those returned for touchdowns. Winston was the first player in NFL history to throw 30 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season.”
Brady, who turns 43 before the season, signed a fully-guaranteed, two-year, $50 million contract with the Buccaneers, including another $9 million in incentives according to ESPN.
The article’s tenor is a departure from the pro forma gratitude expressed in most announcements, but falls in line with sentiments from the franchise’s leadership. At the team’s end-of-season press conference, head coach Bruce Arians blasted Winston for bad decision-making.
“It sure looked like [a bad decision],” Arians said. “[Winston] was covered. He’s throwing to his favorite guy but he’s covered. I think an overtime loss, giving the ball away for a touchdown. I can’t think of anything worse. … You look at it and there’s so much good and so much outright terrible.
“If we can win with this [quarterback], we can definitely win with another one, too.”
The former Seminole was a controversial top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft for on-field and off-field reasons. Winston was accused of sexual assault in a since-settled lawsuit and shoplifting during his time at Florida State, and a reputation for throwing inconsistency followed the former Heisman Trophy-winner through his career in the NFL.
Through five seasons, Winston has 19,737 passing yards, a 61.3 completion percentage, 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. This past season, he became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 interceptions, 25 of which were with a clean pocket.
The Buccaneers exercised the franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett earlier this week, all but guaranteeing their turnover-prone signal-caller would not return in 2020. His first and last passes for the team were interceptions, and he departs as Tampa’s all-time leading passer.
Winston reportedly is hoping to earn at least $30 million per year as a free agent.