Bruce Arians Says Jameis Winston Hasn't Been Informed of Bucs' 2020 QB Plans

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a plan set for their quarterback position in 2020. They just have no plans on informing Jameis Winston until it's finalized. 

"We have a plan, we're just not telling anybody...we know what we're gonna do. We still just gotta see who else is available," Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday on NFL Network. "Because you have to do your due diligence. You don't really know who is available until the tags come out and all that stuff, if there is a guy really on the market.

Arians has consistently maintained he believes the team can win with Winston under center but has not committed to bringing back the free-agent-to-be. He told NFL Network the team plans to monitor the quarterback market before free agency and explore "door No. 2" alternatives to Winston. 

"Well, that's the thing, you see all these names. You've never seen a quarterback market with like Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Philip Rivers and all these guys that are potentially gonna be out there," Arians said. "You don't know what trades might happen, so you don't know who is behind door No. 2 yet, then you can make a decision."

Arians said it was correct to assume Winston will return in 2020 unless there is a better fit at quarterback the team feels it can acquire. 

Of course, Winston has his own say in the matter. The unrestricted free agent could bolt Tampa if the team elects to allow the franchise tag deadline to pass without giving him the tag. The Buccaneers have until March 18 to make a decision.

Winston is coming off perhaps the most high-variance season for a quarterback in NFL history. He led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards and finished second with 33 touchdown passes. However, those MVP-caliber successes were matched by historic failures, as Winston became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. He was the first quarterback since 1988 to throw at least 30 picks.

While most would acknowledge Winston's 2019 was an outlier in every respect—he never topped 4,100 yards, 28 touchdowns or 18 interceptions before last season—it begs major questions about who he could be moving forward. If Winston is able to cut down his turnovers while keeping up elite production elsewhere, he's a Pro Bowler. On the other side, his turnovers became such a detriment in 2019 that it was impossible to win with him under center—even if the highs were among the best in football.