The Buccaneer options for quarterback Jameis Winston

This is the first of series of articles on the Jameis Winston situation as the Buccaneer quarterback.

What are the Buccaneer options? Should the Bucs put the franchise or transition tag on Winston? Should Winston be signed to a new contract? Should the Bucs let Winston walk?

I will break down all the scenarios in a series of articles this week on the Winston saga in Tampa.

One thing is for sure. There is no middle ground with the fan base on the Winston issue. You are either for keeping Winston around for the future, or you want him gone immediately. It is split pretty much 50-50 right now.

As Bruce Arians said after the final game of the season, there was a lot of good and also a lot of bad with Jameis Winston.

Arians was of course referencing the 2019 season but very well could have been talking about the five years that Winston has been in the NFL.

Winston’s contract is up, and he can be a free agent on March 18th. The Bucs can slap the franchise or transition tag on Winston starting February 25th and have until March 10th to officially designate Winston with that tag.

Winston played the 2019 season a on a one year $20 million deal and the Bucs can either re-sign Winston to a new contract, franchise him, put the transition tag on him, or do nothing and Winston becomes a free agent.

The franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met.

The Bucs will need to pay Winston $26,895,000 million dollars on a year deal if they choose to franchise him.

The pay on a franchise tag says that a player shall make no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater.

The transition tag is a bit different. The transition tag guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may make with another team. The transition tag can be used once a year by each club unless they elect to use a franchise tag instead. Transition tags can be rescinded. However teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until the next season.

The transition designation is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position as opposed to top five.

The transition tag for Winston would be $24,373,000 this upcoming season.

The transition tags are rarely used by NFL teams for a couple of reasons.

First, the one year transition tag is a large amount which could become a salary cap issue with that tag.

Second, players often do not take kindly to receiving the transition tag, because it limits the the players ability to negotiate with other teams and hinders their chances of maximizing their salary.

Players will sometimes hold out or refuse to play for the club which can create undue distractions and headaches.

Le’Veon Bell played this card with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 as he was given the franchise tag for the second time and refused to play for the Steelers that season.

The Bucs can also choose to move on from Winston. They could sign a veteran quarterback in free agency, or trade up in the draft to take one of the top quarterbacks coming out in the draft

We are hearing all kinds of rumors on a daily basis of the kind of money that Winston is demanding. One report has Winston saying he will not play for less than $30 million per season.

With the kind of numbers that Winston put up, that is a balsy move asking for that kind of money.

Don’t expect an announcement any time soon on Winston as the Bucs will probably take until at least February 25th to make that decision.

Next up, Why the Bucs should keep Jameis Winston as their quarterback.