- Drafted first overall in 2015, Winston led Bucs to winning season in 2016
- Winston has struggled since serving three-game suspension to start season
- Prolific performances have earned Ryan Fitzpatrick starting role…for now
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked to have landed their long awaited franchise quarterback when they selected Jameis Winston first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
A winner of a national championship and a Heisman Trophy during his two seasons under center at Florida State, Winston’s star continued to rise during his first two NFL seasons. The 24-year-old claimed a spot in the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign, and led the Buccaneers to their first winning season since 2010 a year later.
Odds Jameis Winston Starts for the Buccaneers in 2019
|What Will Jameis Winston be for Game 1 of the 2019 NFL Season?||Odds at Bovada|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting QB||-175|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers Backup QB||+1100|
|Any Other Teams Starting QB||+250|
|Any Other Teams Backup QB||+400|
|Not On A NFL Roster||+900|
Shaky Performance Puts Winston’s Future in Doubt
Since seeing his season debut delayed by a three-game suspension this year, Winston has struggled to regain his form.
Jameis Winston Benched Again, is He Done in Tampa Bay? https://t.co/1DHJYQSdOw
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) October 29, 2018
With Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter opting to bench Winston in favor of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in the team’s Week 10 clash with the Washington Redskins, questions have been raised about the former All-American’s future in Tampa Bay.
However, Winston remains a strong -175 wager to still be the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback for Week 1 of the 2019 NFL campaign on the NFL specials at the online sports betting site Bovada.
Winston High Risk, High Reward Under Center
Perched among the NFL’s top passers while topping 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two NFL campaigns, Winston also tossed a career-high 28 touchdown passes in 2016 while powering the Buccaneers to a 9-7 record.
Winston also demonstrated his ability to scramble early in his career, running for six scores in his rookie year.
Jameis Winston Stats
However, turnovers have been a perennial issue for the former Seminoles star, who averaged over 14 interceptions and 10 fumbles per season during his first three NFL campaign.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 28, 2018
This season has been no different. Through his first four appearances, he has coughed up the ball on four occasions, and tossed 10 picks against just six TDs, capped by an embarrassing four-interception performance in the Buccaneers’ 37-34 loss in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
Fitzpatrick Earns Starter’s Job with Prolific Performances
Fitzpatrick has earned the right to start for the Buccaneers.
The journeyman passer turned heads with a trio of 400-yard performances while Winston was under suspension, leading the squad to stunning victories over New Orleans and Philadelphia, and a furious comeback attempt in the team’s Week 8 loss to the Bengals.
Fitzpatrick turned heads with a trio of 400-yard performances while Winston was under suspension
With Winston set to make over $20.9 million in the final year of his contract next season, decision time is fast approaching for the Buccaneers.
Over the Buccaneers' last 12 games, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston have started six each. And it's not even close: The passing offense, and the whole team, have been better with Fitz https://t.co/37mnF4eV68
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 25, 2018
While his relegation to the role of backup makes sense considering the contrast in the respective performances of the two passers this season, Winston’s big 2019 salary makes the current scenario untenable in the long term, and is reflected in the +1100 odds of Winston starting 2019 as the Bucs’ backup pivot.
Bucs Hold Option on Winston’s Lucrative Contract
However, the Buccaneers enjoy the luxury of an option on the final year of Winston’s contract, leaving them in a position to walk away from the final year of the deal.
Currently sitting well outside the playoff picture with a 3-5 record, a decision to hit the reset button on the team’s current roster remains a possibility. That has fueled +250 odds that Winston will suit up as another team’s starting quarterback next season.
#JameisWinston's Contract Option Reportedly Won't Impact Playing Status: The #TampaBayBuccaneers won't let #JameisWinston 's contract status for 2019 affect whether he plays this season. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter , the $20… https://t.co/uHxBYj7pVs https://t.co/BlWPPyXa6e pic.twitter.com/4pyWVfVwFz
— StubOrder.com 🎟💺 (@StubOrder) November 4, 2018
But Winston will need to rediscover his game if he is to reclaim the mantle of NFL starting quarterback.
In the event his play continues to suffer, Winston could face a long road back to the top of an NFL depth chart, adding shine to the +400 odds of him serving as a backup on another NFL squad at the outset of the 2019 campaign, and a frightful +900 bet of not appearing on an NFL roster.