Former Bucs Pro Bowler Set for Release: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty Bucs senior advisor Bruce Arians coached former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in 2019.

The quarterback dominos began falling on Monday, March 6, and first domino could impact former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

New Orleans landing quarterback Derek Carr means Winston becomes a “likely salary cap casualty” with the Saints according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Winston played for the Saints during the past three seasons after the Bucs let him walk in free agency in 2020 to acquire Tom Brady.

“New Orleans could move on and save $4.4M against the salary cap, but it would take on $11.2M in dead money,” Schefter reported. “A post-June 1 cut would save $12.8M, but no savings until then.”

Similar to the Bucs, the Saints face salary cap issues with $21 million over the cap and new quarterback. Carr will earn $150 million over four years according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.

Winston experienced ups and downs with the Saints amid injuries, including an ACL tear in 2021. Playing only 14 games over three seasons, he threw for 2,103 yards and 18 touchdowns versus three interceptions.

Winston Suspects Change is Coming

Moving from the Saints won’t surprise Winston. He hinted as such during the HBCU Legacy Bowl on February 19 where he served as an honorary captain.

“Just continue working and that’s it,” Winston told WDSU. “My future is in the Lord’s hands anyway, so I’m just going to continue to be the best me.”

Winston got asked during the game about his potential next destination, which he skirted. However, he didn’t double down on sticking with the Saints, either.

“But technically, I’m not a free agent just yet,” Winston told the broadcasters. “I have one more year under contract. My main thing right now is making sure I stay healthy and be ready to play. That’s the only thing that’s on my mind. I got to be ready to play because I know when given the opportunity, I’m going to look forward to taking advantage of it.”

Winston’s time in New Orleans arguably soured last season when he lost the starting job to Andy Dalton due to injury. Winston sustained a four back fractures in September 2022, but he believe he could return to the field according to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell.

“I lost my job due to injury and the policy has always been you don’t lose your job due to injury. And that’s what happened,” Winston said in November 2022 via Terrell.

“What’s going on right now is what I’ve got to deal with right now and focus on right now. I’ll handle what’s going on right now, and when that time comes for me to eventually come back on the field, which hopefully it will, I’m going to support Andy, I’m going to support this offense, I’m going to support everyone on this offensive staff the best I possibly can, and that’s it,” Winston added. “Because, like I said, I wear that shirt that says, ‘Big team, little me,’ even though it hurts my heart. It hurts my soul the way things have turned out to be this year, but it is what it is.”

Winston Could Re-Unite With Bucs

Though Winston’s time in Tampa ended with 30 interceptions in 2019, he hypothetically could return to the Bucs if released.

The Bucs need a veteran quarterback with Brady retired and third-year backup Kyle Trask as the only one under contract. The former Florida has just 10 snaps of regular season experience.

Tampa Bay sits at $58.5 million over the salary cap, which could make Winston completely unaffordable. The former Florida State star could command $2.68 million according to Over The Cap’s valuation.

Winston competing against Trask could provide intrigue at training camp, such as the Seminoles-Gators connections, if the Bucs made that signing.