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Trent Dilfer: Bucs should give quarterback Jameis Winston another year

The former quarterback believes Winston will be better in Year 2 under Bruce Arians.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up his arm before a game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 17. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up his arm before a game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 17. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Jan. 28
Updated Jan. 28

MIAMI ― Another former Bucs quarterback selected in the first round believes Tampa Bay should give Jameis Winston the 2020 season to see if he improves.

Trent Dilfer, who played six seasons with the Bucs before moving on to win a Super Bowl with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, believes Winston would be better in the second year under head coach Bruce Arians.

“I think you have to bring him back for Year 2 under Bruce Arians," Dilfer said Monday at opening night for Super Bowl 54. “You’re not going to get anybody better for next year. Who are you going to get? Marcus Mariota?

“He’s just a high-ceiling, low-floor guy. If he was a mid-ceiling like I was and low floor, it makes sense (to get rid of him). His good is like what’s really good for other players around the league (better upside). And everybody understands Bruce needs to own some of this."

Related: Carson Palmer: Bucs’ Jameis Winston would thrive in Year 2 under Bruce Arians

Winston, who led the NFL in passing with 5,109 yards and threw a club-record 33 touchdowns, also had 30 interceptions and five lost fumbles. He played the final three games with a broken thumb as the team finished 7-9. Winston will become an unrestricted free agent in March. The Bucs could apply the franchise tag, but that would guarantee Winston a one-year salary of about $27 million.

Dilfer said he would frequently talk to former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer about how hard Arians’ system was to master. Palmer threw 22 interceptions in his first season under Arians.

“Carson would call me like mind spinning at first,” Dilfer said. "It takes a couple of years, as Carson talked, to really get it. But once you get it, it’s very explosive. I know why Bruce does it, it just takes a couple years to do it. Clyde (Christensen) is the best coach I ever had in the NFL. He’s got Clyde. He’s more than a swing coach, he knows how to simplify things. He knows how to speak a language that’s more friendly and he’s a great mentor. "

Related: Steve Young says the Bucs would be nuts to move on from Jameis Winston

Dilfer said he wouldn’t be against the Bucs having an experienced backup quarterback ready to go if Winston falters in 2020.

“I would give him more than one year," Dilfer said. "Now, maybe it’s half of one. Maybe you get a really good backup. If things go haywire in the season, you pull a (Ryan) Tannehill out of this.

“It’s a good formula. Maybe you do that. Listen, people say there’s pressure on the quarterback. Well, if you can’t handle the pressure, you can’t play."


  1. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) passes in the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Baylor in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
  2. LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson walks on the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Austin, Texas.
  3. NFC quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints looks to pass, during the first half of the Pro Bowl on Jan. 26 in Orlando.
  4. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) passes in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff game against the Vikings on Jan. 5 in New Orleans.
  5. In this Aug. 8, 2015, file photo former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is interviewed before the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. President Donald Trump pardoned DeBartolo, who was convicted in gambling fraud scandal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
  6. Teddy Bridgewater could be on the market if Drew Brees returns to New Orleans, and Bucs head coach Bruce Arians likes Bridgewater.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians shakes hands with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after his touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 8 in Tampa.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) is seen during warmups just prior to taking on Houston Texans Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  9. The Bucs posted a video Tuesday that teases changes to the team's uniforms.
  10. FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson sits on the sideline with his wife, Gayle Benson, before an NFL football game in New Orleans. An Associated Press review of public tax documents found that the Bensons' foundation has given at least $62 million to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years, including gifts to schools, universities, charities and individual parishes. (AP Photo/Bill Feig, File)
  11. Cardinals rookie David Johnson manages only 35 yards on 15 carries in Saturday’s game vs. the Packers.
  12. Whether Quinton Flowers (9) lines up at quarterback, running back or wide receiver this season for the Tampa Bay Vipers, the XFL's double-pass rule will allow him to use his arm as a weapon.