The Buccaneers are risking that quarterback Jameis Winston‘s $20.9 million salary for 2019 will become fully guaranteed if he suffers an injury today that keeps him from passing a physical by early March. They’re doing so because, reportedly, they intend to pay him $20.9 million in 2019 anyway.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Bucs intend to keep Winston for next season, the final year of his rookie contract. It’s a bit of a surprise, given that: (1) the Buccaneers can’t sell (or give away) tickets; (2) Winston has been a controversial figure off the field; (3) Winston hasn’t been a great quarterback on the field; and (4) a new coach is coming, by all appearances and indications.
So why tie the new coach’s hands with a lame-duck quarterback whom the new coach may not want? Sure, the new coach will say he wants Winston if that’s what delivers the job offer, but then the new coach will bide his time until he can get his own quarterback.
The report also suggests that G.M. Jason Licht is safe, since he’s the one who presumably would be determining whether to keep the quarterback.