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Jameis Winston vows to show how valuable DeSean Jackson is to Bucs

Winston responded to tweet of a Times story link questioning the future of DeSean Jackson with the Bucs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson hangs his head on the bench during the first half game with the Jets on Nov. 12, 2017. (Times file)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson hangs his head on the bench during the first half game with the Jets on Nov. 12, 2017. (Times file)
Published Apr. 6, 2018
Updated Apr. 6, 2018

There's a lot of debate — in and outside of One Buc Place — about the future of DeSean Jackson in Tampa Bay.

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has weighed in, and it's clear he wants No. 11 to not only survive but also thrive.

On Friday, Winston responded to a link of a story on Twitter by Times writer Thomas Bassinger with the headline "What are the Buccaneers going to do with DeSean Jackson?"

Winston retweeted the link with a comment.

Jackson, 31, is in the second year of a three-year, $33.5 million contract, with $20 million of that guaranteed. He is due to make $11 million this season, $7.5 million of which is guaranteed.

In part because Winston struggled to throw the deep ball, the investment in Jackson didn't pay off in 2017. He finished with 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns. His 13.4 yards per catch average was the lowest of his career.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he had a tape of instances where Jackson won his route last season and the Bucs weren't able to get the ball to him.

Bassinger's analysis also highlighted several examples of missed touchdown opportunities.

There's no doubt that Winston and Jackson will need to spend more time playing catch this offseason.

"The easiest answer is rep him when it comes to the deep ball," Koetter said. "The problem with that is DeSean Jackson is not going to go out there and run 25 go routes. It's a lot easier on Jameis to take a five-step drop and throw a go route than for DeSean to run a 60-yard sprint. So you've got the quarterback drop back, drop it in a garbage can drill.

"But even that, those are wear and tears on those guys, too. There's a fine line there. But you definitely can get better at it, and the only way I know is to work it but it might not always be Jameis and DeSean. It may be Jameis and 10 different guys."