Buccaneers GM has interesting take on Jameis Winston after divorce

Jameis Winston Buccaneers career
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady last month, it became clear that former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston would not return to the team.

Winston was coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him throw 30-plus touchdowns and 30-plus interceptions while leading the NFL in passing yards. In many ways, it was a historically bad performance from the former Florida State star.

In talking about the divorce between his Bucs and Winston, general manager Jason Licht provided an interesting take.

“We have a lot of respect for Jameis. Jameis was still part of our plan if things went a different route,” Licht said, via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “We’ve got a lot of respect for him. I thought he did a lot of great things, and anybody in our office or building would say the same thing. He did some spectacular things for us. I would never say that, personally — and I think I speak on behalf of the organization — that he’s a bust. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

Licht is right in that Winston has not proven to be a bust in the truest form of the word. He started 70 games in five seasons with Tampa Bay, throwing for nearly 20,000 yards with 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. Winston ranks first in franchise history in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

Even then, his alarming turnover numbers ruined any chance that Winston would return to Tampa Bay. Head coach Bruce Arians was not quiet about his criticism of the quarterback during their only season together. It has also led to a cold free-agent market for Winston.

“Bust” is obviously a subjective term. Licht might not want to define Winston’s tenure with the team in such a manner. Fans in Tampa might disagree, too.