If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do decide to re-sign Jameis Winston, what should his contract look like? Here’s what to expect from the financial perspective.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some major decisions to make when it comes to free-agency during the 2020 offseason.
None of those decisions will be bigger than what the Buccaneers decide to do at the quarterback position. Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston is set to be an unrestricted free agent and it is now time for the organization to make a decision on what to do with a player they have invested the last five years in developing.
Winston is an enigma to say the least.
He led the league in passing yardage (5,109 yards) and was at the top in terms of passing touchdowns (33), but also was No. 1 in another category: Interceptions (30).
The Buccaneers could choose to part ways with Winston and sign a QB through free-agency or take a chance on a QB like Justin Herbert or Jacob Eason in the NFL Draft, but most signs point to Winston returning to Tampa Bay at this point.
For just a minute, let’s assume the Buccaneers do decide to bring Winston back. What would his contract be worth and how many years would they sign him for? Here’s a look at a few options.
Nonexclusive/Exclusive Franchise Tag:
Perhaps the Buccaneers like the upside of Winston, but aren’t sure they want to invest in him for the long-term due to that high interception total. With more than $90 million in cap space this year, the Buccaneers could sign Winston to a nonexclusive franchise tag deal which would be the average of the top 5 quarterbacks in the league, projected to be right around $26.7 million, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Winston would be able to negotiate with other franchises, but Tampa Bay could match any offer under this clause.
The exclusive franchise tag would be the exact same, except Winston wouldn’t be able to negotiate with other teams.
The Buccaneers could also use the transition tag (an estimated $25 million) on Winston, but that would allow another organization to come in and place an offer.
The Buccaneers could negotiate a short-term deal with Winston (something like 2-3 years) at $28-$33 million per year (which would give Winston a little higher salary per year without giving him the long-term contract). There are ways to work around the cap so that the Bucs could still have space for other signees.
The organization could also choose to sign Winston to the long-term, but this seems like the least likely option at this point.
It will be interesting to see what the terms of an agreement look like if the Buccaneers do choose to bring Winston back.
At this point, I would expect that most Tampa Bay executives don’t believe Winston is worth the risk of signing him to a long-term extension, but he will certainly be seeking a significant pay-raise -whether that be a traditional extension or with the franchise tag.
I’d expect the ‘per year’ salary to be somewhere between $27 million and $30 million if the Bucs go the traditional route, as Jameis Winston is reportedly wanting a $30 million per year deal.
However, it would likely make sense for both parties if the franchise tag was applied. The Buccaneers would have another season to evaluate Winston, and Winston would have another year to increase his stock.