INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht echoes Head Coach Bruce Arians when it comes to the future of quarterback Jameis Winson. Licht is uncertain how the quarterback offseason dilemma will play itself out, but Licht says the Bucs have a plan in place to accommodate any scenario.
“We like Jameis. Nobody’s ruled Jameis out of being our quarterback next year,” Licht said. “He’s a free agent. It’s a pretty large group that could potentially be free-agent quarterbacks. We just need to do our due diligence. We’ve got to make the right decision. One of those decisions could be Jameis and we feel good about it.”
The Bucs admit they will look at all options regarding quarterbacks in NFL free agency and they believe the list of potential targets will begin to wind down before the legal tampering period begins March 16.
Quarterback Drew Brees, for example, expects to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints. The only confirmed parting is Philip Rivers’ exit from the Los Angeles Chargers. Winston is on that list as well and, for now, it seems as if the Bucs are content to allow Winston to shop his value around the league as well. The door to his return to Tampa Bay, however, stays open.
Licht is not just concerned with Winston’s future. The much-improved Bucs defense stands to lose or retain free agents, including defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Beau Allen as well as outside linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib and Shaquil Barrett. While Barrett’s 19.5 quarterback sacks in 2019 command an elite pass rusher deal, he is one of the candidates for a “franchise tag,” which can be applied as early as later this week.
“We’re going to do our best to keep them all. It rarely goes exactly the way you want it to,” Licht said. “There’s 31 other teams out there that are looking at our guys too. I feel very good that what we’re going to get accomplished or what we potentially can because of the communication we’ve had. We want them and we know they like being a part of this.”
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