Wandering Off The Winston Track

February 16th, 2020

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The eyes of Buc Nation are fixed on the man with the new eyes, and that’s understandable.

Not a day goes by without hundreds of Tweets speculating about the potential fate of Jameis Winston, who has had five years to prove himself as a franchise quarterback. We still don’t know the answer, and quite frankly, neither does Tampa Bay’s brain trust.

It’s no surprise that the quarterback position dominates the headlines, especially this particular offseason, when so many marquee players face uncertainty.

Nobody is quite sure if Drew Brees is returning or where Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Cam Newton will hang their helmet this fall.

But while Bruce Arians and the Glazers have already engaged in a series of in-depth meetings about Winston’s future, the challenge of keeping the core of an improving defense intact has emerged as a huge priority.

Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh played pivotal roles down the stretch as the Bucs went 4-2 to crawl out of the NFC South basement.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles

During that 6-game stretch, Buc opponents averaged almost 9 points less than they scored in the first 10 games. And instead of yielding an average of 372 yards, the Bucs allowed only 298 yards per game in the closing six weeks.

Those are critical markers for Todd Bowles to build on — if the Bucs can retain most of their key defenders.

“Oh, yeah, to me it’s the whole defense,” says Arians, per Buccaneers.com. “We can’t get them all but we’ve got to get [some]. This team right now, in the last eight games our defensive statistics were [good]. Those young guys grew. We can’t let that go. I don’t care who’s playing quarterback, we’re going to have a defense. [Otherwise,] we’re back to Square One.”

The Bucs set a franchise scoring record in 2019, but it’s the defensive surge that has fans excited about next season. Have we forgotten how this blue-collar community embraced Tampa Bay’s stifling defense during the glory days?

Paying The Price

A young secondary displayed more swagger and better communication skills in the final six games, helped by a consistent pass rush.

NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett wants to be paid and no matter what you read about hometown discounts, the Bucs will have to reach deep to keep him from testing free agency once again.

The difference? This time around, Barrett isn’t a part-time player out of Denver with a meager track record as an edge rusher.

Pierre-Paul’s return in late October energized Tampa Bay’s pass rush and made opposing teams pay for directing so many resources Barrett’s way. JPP’s veteran presence up front would be missed if he departs as a free agent. Suh meshed very well inside with Vita Vea as the Bucs led the NFL in rushing defense. He deserves credit for filling his role diligently, providing Vea with a worthy role model.

With all the chatter swirling around Winston, let’s remember one key point: Arians arrived in Tampa with a reputation as an offensive guru, but his Arizona teams were usually better on the defensive side of the ball during his 5-year tenure in the desert.

Check out this Cardinals chart:

Season      Scoring offense    Scoring D   Total offense    Total D

2013                16th                           7th        12th                  6th
2014                24th                           5th       24th                24th
2015                2nd                            7th         1st                    5th
2016                 6th                           14th        9th                   2nd
2017                25th                          19th      22nd                  6th

Ndamukong Suh

No wonder Arians is so consumed with retaining his defensive keepers.

Tampa Bay’s late-season defensive surge came amid a flurry of giveaways. Buc opponents struggled in the red zone and on third down, key markers that a young unit has arrived.

It would be a shame to see several of the critical components playing for other teams in the fall.

Fat contracts usually rule the day in free agency, so follow the money and let your eyes wander off the Winston track on occasion in the next month.

Ira loves telling people about the nationwide lifetime warranty on USED and NEW vehicles at Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford. Ask for his friend, GM Sean Sullivan. He’ll take care of you personally and give you a JoeBucFan/Ira discount.

32 Responses to “Wandering Off The Winston Track”

  1. MirrorMirrowOnTheWall Says:

    Being that you cannot get John Lynch in the Hall of Fame… why not dump on Winston. Joe will not respond to a certain question; maybe you will? Peyton Manning had about 20 more interceptions than Jameis Winston after five years. During that five years, Peyton Manning had a much better team and received much better coaching. If Peyton Manning overcame his interceptions to be a so called franchise quarterback, why do you opine that Jameis the great Winston cannot?

  2. Mirror Mirror your questioning the Almighty Joe Says:

    Mirror you are going to enact the wrath of the purveyor of this site by asking honest questions about things and or people that are protected. You REALLY need to watch yourself.

  3. You look at my numbers, I’m ballin Says:

    Morrow sounds like they’re having a lovely Sunday.

    The defense has me excited, that’s for sure. We can live with JPP and Suh walking out the door though it would be esp nice to retain JPP. We have play makers at every stage of the defense, we just need to retain that D line talent and find us a play making free safety. Then we’d be cooking with gas

  4. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Manning also had 17 more TDs

    Didn’t miss a game due to injury/suspension/being benched for poor play like Jameis

    Manning’s early years the rules weren’t geared towards helping the offense like they are now.

    Let compare Jameis to his contemporaries like Wentz, Watson, Mahomes, Prescott, Mayfield, Trubisky, Jackson or Goff

    Jameis doesn’t belong in the same sentence as Manning or other greats. Manning showed he can string together strong performances game after game. When Jameis plays well it’s an aberration

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Music to my ears Ira. This is why you’re The Sage.

  6. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    Easy on The Ira, Fun House Mirror/Mirrow. I agree with you on Winston…not so much on roughing up Ira for the heavy lift of getting Lynch into the HOF.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Gawd I hope Winston is leaving the state of Florida. As much as I root for the guy he needs a fresh start away from the excessive scrutiny of a thanks fan base. He is our relevance in this league right now. I hope it’s the right call for the Bucs as well to let him go.

  8. stpetebucsfan Says:

    @D.R. How are bonuses figured against the cap? Since they are paid for achievement…after the season..do they get added at the end?

    How about the CBA limits on bonuses versus actual salary? Wonder if there are % limits as to how much can be bonus versus guaranteed salary?

    If it wasn’t for the rules both JPP and Shaq should have easy contracts…one million for each game played…one million for each sack recorded. Both deals could be guaranteed for two years for JPP 3 years for Shaq.

    IE in reality both guys start with 16 million guaranteed just for playing…record ten sacks and the salary jumps to 26 million…nobody expects Shaq to match last year but if he did he’d earn 35.5 million under this deal…certainly fair eh?

  9. T REX Says:

    Dump WInston already. We’ll forever be mired in the bottom half with that loser at QB. He plays just well enough not to get us a great draft pick and bad enough not to make the playoffs. He sucks out loud. He and all that garbage fsu fans can haul arse outta town. I’ll help you all pack. LOSERS all of you. He’s your last connection to a once winning program and you nutjobs are afraid to let him go even though he was trouble at FSU and had a million turnovers there too.

    DUMP WINSTON 2020!

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … You got me curious with that ‘bonus’ question. There’s a bunch of ‘stuff’ written about it in the rules (that make little sense to me admittedly) but this looks like a decent explanation …

    “A player’s Cap number is usually comprised of several parts. First the player has what is known as his P5 Salary (as in Paragraph 5 of the standard NFL contract). This is what is otherwise referred to as a player’s yearly base salary. Players also often receive bonuses – of different varieties – that will also count as part of his Salary Cap number. The most common types of bonuses are Signing Bonuses, Option Bonuses and Roster Bonuses. The 3rd common component of a player’s Cap number is Incentives.

    The CBA contains provisions that limit the Salary Cap calculation to the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers on the team and all signing (and option) bonus pro-rations and all rosters bonuses. This rule – the Rule of 51 – is in effect from the beginning of the league year in March until the first game of the regular season.

    The impact of the Rule of 51 is felt when a teams signs a new player and the former 51st player drops off the team’s Rule of 51 Cap number. For example, this means that if the new player has a Cap number of $1M, his signing doesn’t actually reduce the team’s Cap by $1M, but by the net of the $1M less the base salary of the former 51st player. Any bonus proration for that former 51st player remains.”

    Like I said, a bunch of it is gobbleygook (P5 salary?) but I guess the long answer is “All the bonuses (and incentives apparently) count one way or another”. GMs & their surrogates are masters at manipulating the numbers I’m sure. Also sure though that the CBA knows that & sets limits on what they can & can’t do to work around the salary Cap.

  11. Alanbucsfan Says:

    There isn’t one FA Secondary player available who is worth more than re- signing Suh, Barrett and JPP

  12. Mr. Reality Says:

    Winston is done in Tampa Bay.

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I know…it gets dang complicated in a New York minute! It seems like I had a fair compromise.

    Both Shaq and JPP deserve respectful offers. If you guaranteed them a million a game for a few years that would be a low but respectful base salary especially when combined with the bonus! One million per sack. Suddenly a mediocre to low base salary looks good…just three sacks and the player is at 19 million. 5 sacks and they break into the 20+million annually…and if they blow up with double digit sacks they get paid like they should…super star dollars…26-36 million a year!

  14. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    “I don’t care who’s playing quarterback” quite the resounding endorsement for your current QB, huh?

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … I’m all for ‘incentives’ and ‘performance-based salaries’ but just imagine what would happen when the REST OF THE TEAM says ‘Hey, we had sacks too. We want $1 mil for each of them also’. As Scooby Doo used to say … ‘Ruh roh’.

  16. footballjunkie Says:

    Kinda known…and not the most relevant right now. Usually these columns are.

  17. Wisconsinbucsfan Says:

    if Winstons picks were all 40 yards downfield and tipped would be totally different but most are checkdowns not tipped ….Time for Winston to walk the plank.

  18. Mirror Mirror your questioning the Almighty Joe Says:

    Joe should work for the North Koreans he is such a master of censoring the truth.

  19. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    My August 2019 prediction was that Jamyth would play just good enough to put the top QB draft prospects out of reach….

  20. stpetebucsfan Says:

    A million per sack may be unreasonable but I still like the idea of paying for performance…they could start with a large pot set aside for victories!

    Yeah I know the crappy teams would just get worse…maybe they’d get lucky if they were forced to pay on perforamamce and not guesstimates.

  21. Dapostman Says:

    Let’s hear from the ladies of The View.

    You know who you are. Triggered by every Winston article.

  22. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Joe Poll time
    In 5 million dollar increments starting at 10 million
    How much would you pay Jameis for another one year deal

  23. mark2001 Says:

    Some of you guys make me laugh…you extrapolate what one player did and apply it to Jameis. That is like saying since a kid was starting QB on his pee wee football team at 7 and Payton didn’t play pee wee football, that kid must become a better QB than Payton.

    Stop with the Manning nonsense..the Favre nonsense. Different people. No extrapolation to Jameis has any validity. Period.

  24. Hodad Says:

    Arains will be more then happy to roll with Rivers for at least this year, and will make the future better drafting a new QB. I have no problem with Rivers, and would be happy with a new future QB to learn from him for a year. Jameis has worn out his welcome with at least half the fan base. Bringing him back would be bad for business. Arain’s has no ties to Jameis. He’s the love child of Lovie, and Licht.

  25. Ndog Says:

    Question for you guys if they don’t want Jameis why have they not come out and said it like the Chargers did with Rivers? It’s called negotiations as they want him back but at the lowest price possible. The only reason they are talking about other QBs at all are as fallbacks in case they need to franchise Shaq and can’t sign Jameis to a multi year deal.

  26. Bird Says:

    Lets pay 30 mil a year to the only qb in the 30 / 30 club
    That males sense
    Really smart

    Only qb with 7 pick sixes in a season
    6 turnovers in one game

    Gimme a breAk
    But hey …go Noles! 😂

  27. T REX Says:

    whippedpuppey, are you an FSU fan?

  28. BigHog Says:

    Janet Jackson says “Wake me when you’re done!”

  29. BigHog Says:

    Hodad: that would make half the “fan base” retarded!!!

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If any of those defensive line guys want that much money, let them walk.

    Shaq might be worth $16m after incentives.
    JPP and Suh player for $10m (actually JPP took a paycut later in the season). Suh will re-sign for $10m again.

    JPP doesn’t want to stay, but offering him $12m might convince him. Keep in mind his age and injury history.

    Nassib would re-sign for around $6m.

    All per year.

    Winston will get $26m under the franchise tag. A contract should be $26m plus incentives.

  31. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Imo what should happen this offseason. first resign Shaq, JPP and Suh. second patch some holes in the secondary like safety in FA. third draft Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs at 14

  32. Cobraboy Says:

    The D can stay together if Winston leaves. A solid D and semi-decent QB with the Bucs receivers = more wins that keeping Jameis Christ and letting Suh and JPP walk.