The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly ready to move on from Jameis Winston, and could already have their sights set on the next franchise quarterback.
This week, reports emerged that the team had enough of the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, with no plans to re-sign him at the end of his contract season. NFL insider Mike Freeman wrote on Twitter that the Buccaneers were prepared to look for a new starting quarterback after more than four seasons of inconsistent play and off-the-field troubles for Winston.
Fansisded blog The Pewter Plank noted that the Bucs have already given some public indications that they’re ready to move on from Winston, as the team had been scouting some college quarterbacks including Justin Hebert and Joe Burrow. But a recent report from TDN indicates another signal caller for Tampa. In a mock draft, the outlet had Burrow going No. 1 overall and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa going second.
With the more limited groups of quarterbacks, the mock draft pegged the Buccaneers to take Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, noting that he could be a capable replacement for Jameis Winston.
“Winston is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is earning just short of $21M this season. That’s a tough sell: on pace for 70+ sacks and nearly 30 interceptions for a cool $20M. And so Jalen Hurts is the first of the ‘other’ quarterbacks to get his name called — namely because he’s got enough arm strength to zip the ball all over the field but also because he’s not flawed under pressure relative to Winston and 2020 QB prospects like Justin Herbert.”
It could be a rough offseason ahead for the top of the 2015 NFL Draft. As Jameis Winston is reportedly on his way out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, other reports indicate that No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota could also be done in Tennessee. As The Inquisitr noted, Mariota’s benching in favor of veteran Ryan Tannehill this season has sparked rumors that Mariota could already be on the trade block, and is more than likely done in Tennessee after the season ends.
Jameis Winston has struggled this season, throwing five interceptions in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in London before the team headed off to a bye week. With the Buccaneers never making the playoffs during Winston’s tenure — and only once finishing with a winning record — it seems likely that the team will move into a rebuilding phase as it moves on from Winston.