Many of the recent rumors swirling have linked Tom Brady to the Las Vegas Raiders, but the team could look to another veteran quarterback it seems. Fresh off becoming the first quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the season, Jameis Winston is in a very strange place as a free agent. He threw an unreal number of interceptions but is also in rare company because he threw for over 5,000 yards.
Winston was the number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and while he’s shown flashes of elite ability, he’s also proven to be incredibly careless with the football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers invested a lot by selecting him that early, but there’s a different coach calling the shots and he could be ready to move on from Winston. If he hit the free-agent market, there may be at least one team interested in his services.
Jon Gruden ‘Interested’ in Winston
On the surface, Winston doesn’t seem like the kind of quarterback Jon Gruden would want. However, according to Ian Wharton, the coach is ‘interested’ in the former number one pick.
Now, interested doesn’t mean he’s going to sign him, but it does make the Raiders a team to watch in the Winston sweepstakes. Gruden has always valued quarterbacks who don’t turn the ball over. Derek Carr is among the best in the NFL at keeping the ball safe. That said, Gruden could want to change his philosophy and go after a gunslinger.
It seems strange though because Carr has shown gunslinger ability in the past before Gruden got there. It could’ve been deduced that the quarterback became much less inclined to take risks due to Gruden. While Winston is intriguing because of his big-play ability, he just doesn’t make much sense with Gruden.
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What Has Gruden Said About Winston in the Past?
When Gruden was in media, he wasn’t the most critical of analysts. He was more likely to praise you than punch you. Thanks to his connection to the Buccanneers franchise, there’s no shortage of Winston analysis from Gruden before he joined the Raiders.
“When you watch Winston, you study Winston, you don’t realize how athletic he is,” Gruden said, via the Orlando Sentinel in 2017. “How much offense he creates. What a gunslinger he is. How exciting a player he is. And the command that he has. He can get up there and recognize the defense. He can communicate what he wants done and he has the talent to execute any play that is called. It’s that combination that excites me….”
Winston’s career numbers certainly aren’t terrible. He averages 24.2 touchdowns, 17.6 interceptions and 3,947.4 pass yards a season over his five-year career. He’s going to end up a starter somewhere in 2020. However, it also must be kept in mind that he’s had some of the best wide receivers in the NFL to throw to throughout his career. If you put him with the Raiders, who have a week wide receiver corps, it could turn into a disaster.
While Winston will pique the interest of many, it’s hard to imagine he’d be a better fit for Gruden than Carr. If the coach is ready to move on from his incumbent quarterback, he should look to the draft and mold a prospect in his image.