Why won’t a team offer Winston a position?

by Gary Shelton on March 22, 2020

in general

Winston is still looking for work./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Would you buy a broken promise from this man?

He is 26 years old, and already, he has 70 starts in the NFL. He's thrown for 19.787 yards. He's thrown for 121 touchdowns in five seasons.

And these days, Jameis Winston can't get a job.

Winston is in limbo. He has no uniform, no number, no salary. He is a man without a team, much like Josh Freeman and Johnny Manziel and all the other quarterbacks whose game didn't measure up to their draft status. He has thrown an interception with his career, and the other side is taking it the wrong way.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

And now, as Winston waits for a telephone that will not ring, it is easy to wonder what is going on in his mind.

Down deep, in his private moments, did Winston really expect the Bucs to cave? Did he, too, think there would be more interest from the Patriots in bringing back Tom Brady? Did he think the Bucs also considered his turnover problems as a small bump in the road, as Winton seemed to? Did he think this was his team until he was ready to give it up?

Failing all of that, did he think the 31 other teams in the NFL would fall all over themselves trying to hire him away?

If so, this was the latest in a career filled with bad decisions. His interception problems kept getting worse. Games kept being lost. Over time, Winston squandered his status with the Bucs. He went from the player the team hoped would lead their turnaround to a guy who was simply in the way.

And now? The Colts have a new quarterback, and it isn't Winston. The Bears have a new one, and it isn't Winston. The Panthers have a new quarterback, and it isn't Winston. The Patriots need a quarterback, but reports suggest it will not be Winston. The Redskins need a quarterback, but reports say it will not be Winston.

So where? The Chargers? The Jags? Does Winston hold out hope that someone, anyone, will trust a team to his wayward arm? Can you imagine Winston in a team interview, repeating the same old lines about how he knows he has to get better? Will the company line sound any better elsewhere?

So is all this about performance? Or is it about his pay?

Yes. It's about both.

As a former No. 1 draft pick, Winston's bloated salary grew a lot faster than his performance. If he made $10 million, maybe $12 million, the Bucs might have kept him. But to get into the low-to-mid $20-million range? That's just silly.

It's easy to say no to Winston, then, who is a high-priced car who plays like a clunker. You can reject him for either price or play. It doesn't matter which.

So what do you do if you're Winston? You can wait for a quarterback to get hurt in training camp so his team will offer you a fresh start. You join a bad team, and a few interceptions later, you're a former NFL quarterback.

Or you can re-evaluate your situation and start over.

If I was Winston, I'd start thinking about backup jobs. I'd find a solid franchise, and maybe an aging quarterback, and a solid coach. I'd join that team. New England, maybe. New Orleans. Pittsburgh.

What do you think? Even Tampa Bay.

That way, Jameis, you get the choice. You get to drive your own career. You take a two-three year sabbatical on the sidelines, and you start over.

It won't pay as well as being a starting quarterback. But it's a plan. You work every bleeding day on your interception problem. You humble yourself, and you keep your mouth shut. You bide your time, and you'll get a second chance.

Whether you deserve it or not.

Previous post:

Next post: