Ex-Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston Breaks Silence on New Team

Jameis Winston

Getty Former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (right) celebrates a touchdown with Chris Godwin in 2018.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston says he felt called to leave the New Orleans Saints and join the Cleveland Browns despite another backup role.

“Yes, I still envision myself as a starter, however the Lord has also called me to lead by impacting and increasing the men who are around me,” Winston told NFL insider Josina Anderson over the phone on March 12. “Having the opportunity to work with Deshaun [Watson] and help him be the best he can possibly be, is my main mission.”

“Now, if Deshaun has to heal up for whatever reason, and I have to take a few games off of him, I’m going to be ready to do that; but I have to fulfill God’s purpose first before my own heart’s desire. Because ultimately I desire to win some Super Bowls, and this roster that Cleveland got, looks like they can do it,” Winston added.

This will mark the third career stop for Winston, whom the Buccaneers selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston produced many ups and downs with the Buccaneers amid a 28-42 record with 19,737 yards passing for 121 touchdowns versus 88 interceptions in five seasons.

Since Winston couldn’t get the Buccaneers to the playoffs as turnovers marred his time there, Tampa Bay turned to free agent and former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2020. Winston left for the Saints as a free agent and became a backup to Drew Brees.

Jameis Winston Had Limited Success in New Orleans

With the Saints, Winston started 10 games after Brees retired in 2021 and the team began a carousel of quarterbacks. Winston tore his ACL in 2021 against the Buccaneers, and the Saints ended up starting four different quarterbacks that year.

His role regressed in 2022 when the Saints acquired former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who started 14 games. Winston had three starts and went 1-2 that season.

Then New Orleans acquired former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in 2023, and Winston spent almost the whole year on the bench. Winston threw 47 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns versus three interceptions last year.

Overall, Winston went 6-4 with the Saints as he threw for 2,367 yards and 20 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions. He also appeared in one 2020 playoff game where he made a big play against the Buccaneers on a 56-yard touchdown pass in a 30-20 Divisional Round defeat.

Opportunity Could Come Jameis Winston’s Way in Cleveland

Winston now joins a Browns franchise in perpetual flux at the quarterback position. The Browns traded with the Houston Texans for Watson in 2022, and he has played sparingly due to a suspension and injury during the past two season.

Watson has an 8-4 record with the Browns amid 2,217 yards passing for 14 touchdowns versus nine interceptions. He also has 317 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 62 carries in that span.

All of that is a far cry from his Texans days where he went 28-25 and threw for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns versus 36 picks. He also rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns during his four-year tenure in Houston.

Cleveland turned to quarterback Joe Flacco in place of Watson last season, and the Browns made the playoffs but fell big to none other than the Texans, 45-14, in the Wild Card round. Before Watson, the Browns had former No. 1 pick in 2018 Baker Mayfield, who now plays for the Buccaneers after he bounced around the league following the Watson trade.

Read More