The Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect to bring back QB Jameis Winston in 2019, his fifth-year team option season at a cost of $20 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Sunday.
On the surface, the news isn't stunning. Winston is only 24, has authored bright flashes since he was the first overall pick in the 2015 draft and the impending offseason QB market is nothing if not murky.
Of course, Winston also served a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy to begin this season, when his play has remained erratic leading to a pair of benchings, and the Buccaneers are expected to move on from head coach Dirk Koetter, who is 19-28 in three seasons, the past two beginning with playoff ambitions.
Have the Bucs, then, already decided that at least GM Jason Licht is safe — and perhaps Koetter, too? Or has the Glazer family already made a decision that could handcuff their team's potential impending search for a head coach and/or general manager?
Winston, who still could become the first-ever Bucs quarterback to land a second contract with the club, has a career passer rating of 87.1 (one-tenth of a point better than his 2018 mark) and 84 passing touchdowns against 75 turnovers. The maturity and character questions that followed him from Florida State also haven't gone away.
But the Bucs apparently are committed to Winston for at least one more season, save for the two sides striking an agreement on a contract extension this offseason. One would think the Bucs coach would receive input on that kind of a decision. Then again, maybe not.