Keep – Jameis Winston
Buccaneers fans know better than anyone that franchise quarterbacks to come around all that often. Jameis is the first one this team has had in its 40+ year history, so he’s an obvious keep. Don’t get me wrong, Winston still has plenty to learn and plenty to improve on, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has been a big reason for the recent culture change and confidence within this franchise.
Winston has the chance to break the Buccaneers’ all-time passing touchdown record in just his third season and was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. Oh yeah, and he’s 23 years old. That’s someone who – if everything continues to trend upwards as it has – can be under center for the next 12-15 years, something unfathomable to Bucs fans when it pertains to the quarterback position.
Trade – Mike Evans
Given that you have to keep Jameis, Mike is the obvious trade. Don’t get me wrong, it stings for sure, but Evans is young and has asserted himself as one of the best, dare I say “elite”, receivers in this league. His trade value would be among the highest on the team and the return would be substantial.
Think of what a team like the Patriots, Lions, Eagles, Jets, Cardinals, or Seahawks would give up for a certified, top-tier, number one wide receiver. And although we’d all hate to see Evans go, he’s the obvious trade choice based on position availability and potential return.
Lose – Doug Martin
I’ve said my piece on the Bucs’ running back situation repeatedly. That said, Martin was impressive in his debut last week against the Patriots. Hopefully he can maintain that level of play to increase his market value, because there’s no hesitation on which player I’m letting walk.
Doug Martin has had the most up-and-down career of any Buccaneers player and is closing in on 30 years old at running back. There’s not going to be much of a trade market for him and you aren’t building your team around your 30 year old running back who only has a few seasons – if that – left in the tank.
Running back is the easiest of these three positions to replace in the draft. Stud running backs can be found in the later rounds, whereas quarterback and elite receivers, you’re generally looking at a day one pick. Of course, there are exceptions, but more often than not the replacements at those positions cost a hefty premium. Losing Doug is a no brainer.
Best of luck, Doug. Thanks for the memories.