Coming out of Florida State Jameis Winston was the clear choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A two sport athlete, excelling in baseball as well as football Jameis had everything physically a team wanted. Standing a 6′ 3″ weighing 235LBS he was the perfect size, he was mobile, agile, possessed great arm strength, had a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship. The Buccaneers took Jameis with their #1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft. They had the face of their franchise, the quarterback that was going to lead them for the next ten years. As they prepare for the fourth year of Jameis Winston the Buc’s may need to rethink their plans.
Entering the NFL with a checkered past, Winston’s talented overshadowed any problems that may come up from drafting an accused rapist. The Buccaneers wasted no time turning their organization over to Winston naming him the starters right away. He flourished early dominating his opening season matchup with fellow first round quarterback selection Marcus Mariota, confirming that he was the right choice for the struggling franchise. Winston set franchise rookie records in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. Winston finished his rookie season with 4,042 passing yards, finishing 23 yards short of the franchise record set by Josh Freeman in 2012. Tying the record for touchdowns in a game by a rookie (5) on November 22, 2015, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Winston had arrived. After Tom Brady declined playing in the pro bowl, Winston was chosen to take his place.
Following his rookie season big things were expected of Winston and the Buccaneers. Winston led the Buccaneers to their first winning season in 6 years after defeating the Carolina Panthers in the regular season finale, during which he broke the franchise records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and became the first quarterback in NFL history to start his career with consecutive seasons of 4,000 yards passing; however the Buccaneers were eliminated from playoff contention via a tie breaker with the Detroit Lions. He was ranked 57th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 of 2017.
Entering the 2017 season it was not just Winston that had the high expectations but it was the team in whole. The pressure seemed to bring out the worst in the team opening the season 2-6, immediately falling out of contention. The poor start coupled with a Winston injury doomed the Buccaneers to a 5-11 season. While Winston’s numbers and play have shown flashes of brilliance the lack of development on the field has been noticable. After three years as an NFL starter, Jameis Winston is still hard to figure out. He has produced dazzling highlights coupled with maddening turnovers, finding open receivers long after plays have broken down, yet coughing up the ball when he should have taken sacks. While his development of the field has haulted, his maturity as a human being has yet again come into question.
As Tampa Bay enters the 2018 season they have been forced to deal with the new that Jameis Winston will miss the first three games due to an incident with an Uber driver in March of 2016. The latest incident has raised the question of how much is to much from a public figure. The face of a franchise cannot be a player that continues to show lack of maturity.
Feb. 22, 2017: During a talk to students at St. Petersburg’s Melrose Elementary School, Winston says that boys are supposed to be strong but ladies are “supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.”
This comment shows a false sense of understanding about how men and women are suppose to be treated in society. The early excuses for Winston’s actions were that he was young and needed to grow up, but how much time can you give a person who is such a prolific person in your community. When I took a trip to Tampa two years ago every street light and sign that had anything to do with the Buc’s featured Winston’s face. He is Buccaneer football, but is that really what they want?
The fact of the matter is they have regressed as a team over the last three seasons, In an NFL where quarterback play rules all, Winston has tons of trade value. Still being young enough for a coach to think they can help with his turnover problem and a GM thinking they can fix his personality. Winston could net the Buc’s a solid second round pick or better if a team really believes in him. In a time of social consciousness in the NFL the Buccaneers have to make a decision that I am sure they do not want to, it is time to move on from Winston or continue to allow him to put their team at risk.