Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Jameis Winston’s free agency appears to be unprecedented

Good luck finding a historical comparison to what has happened with Jameis Winston and the Bucs.
Your guess on where Jameis Winston might land is as good as ours at this point.
Your guess on where Jameis Winston might land is as good as ours at this point. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 18, 2020|Updated Mar. 18, 2020

In the midst of uncertain sports situations — like Jameis Winston’s free agency — it’s usually helpful to find historical precedents that could provide some insight about where Winston could land and what might be next for the former Florida State superstar.

Not this time. As best I can tell, there are no good historical comparisons for what is happening with Winston’s apparent split with the Bucs.

I went through every top-five quarterback drafted since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. I did not find anything quite like this, where a quarterback with notable success (like a Pro Bowl appearance) wasn’t re-signed, released or traded; the team just let him walk away after his first deal expired.

Related: We’re about to discover if we’ve been too harsh on Jameis Winston

A few came somewhat close:

UCF product Blake Bortles had modest success in Jacksonville.
UCF product Blake Bortles had modest success in Jacksonville. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

UCF product Blake Bortles never made a Pro Bowl with the Jaguars, but his 35 passing touchdowns were tied for second in the league in 2015, and he led Jacksonville to the AFC South title two years later. Unlike Winston, Bortles got another contract with the Jags (three years, $54 million). But Jacksonville cut him after one year, when he was 3-9 as the starter. Bortles signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Rams to back up Jared Goff.

Robert Griffin III did make a Pro Bowl with Washington and was the offensive rookie of the year in 2012, too. But he flamed out quickly, getting benched during his fourth year and released that offseason. He got a two-year, $15 million deal with the Browns and began 2016 as the starter; injuries (among other things) limited him to six starts since leaving Washington.

Vince Young went to a pair of Pro Bowls with the Titans. Unlike Winston, he had a major falling out with the organization, leading to his release after five seasons. He signed with the Eagles for a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million and started three times in 2011 (which turned out to be his final NFL season).

Vinny Testaverde made his debut with the Bucs in 1987 and played six seasons with the team.
Vinny Testaverde made his debut with the Bucs in 1987 and played six seasons with the team. [ Associated Press ]

Vinny Testaverde is an obvious Bucs comparison, but he had more interceptions than touchdown passes in all six of his Tampa Bay seasons. David Carr started 75 games for the Texans but never approached Winston’s numbers.

Jim Plunkett was tied for second in the league in passing touchdowns as a rookie in 1971 and fourth in 1974. But the Patriots didn’t let him walk; they traded him to the 49ers.

Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter

We’ll deliver a roundup of news and commentary on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options
Related: Let the history show, Jameis Winston is not the first QB quandary in Tampa Bay

If I’m missing any other historical comps, let me know. But unless I’m missing something, Winston’s free agency appears to be unprecedented.

Which makes it even harder to predict where he might land, and how he might rebound.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge