Jameis Winston Rumors: Patriots Interest 'Seems Unlikely' Despite Tom Brady Exit

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

The New England Patriots are reportedly "unlikely" to pursue former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston in free agency.

Michael Giardi of the NFL Network reported the update Friday after longtime Pats QB Tom Brady announced his signing with the Bucs.

The Patriots' number of outside options to fill the void left by Brady is starting to dwindle.

Three high-profile free agents have already signed—Philip Rivers (Indianapolis Colts), Teddy Bridgewater (Carolina Panthers) and Marcus Mariota (Las Vegas Raiders)—and Nick Foles, one of the most notable trade candidates, is already on the move from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Chicago Bears.

It leaves Winston and Joe Flacco as the only starter-level quarterbacks available on the open market. If they'd rather go the trade route, the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton and Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton are potential options.

New England also owns the No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but it'd be picking from the second tier of quarterback prospects with LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa likely long gone.

Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler are the Pats' two quarterbacks currently under contract for 2020.

Winston isn't a scheme fit on the surface. His play last year with the Bucs put his high-risk, high-reward style on full display (33 touchdowns, 30 interceptions), and it's the antithesis of the efficient approach that led the Patriots to six championships during the Brady era.

That said, trying to find a direct replacement for Brady is probably a fool's errand. None of the players listed above have produced on that level consistently throughout their careers.

So it's hard to predict what direction the Patriots plan to go under center for next season and beyond, but it doesn't sound like Winston will be their answer.