Jameis Winston not a bust, has 'bright future', says Bucs GM

Omnisport

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have moved on from Jameis Winston, but general manager Jason Licht does not consider the quarterback "a bust".

Licht selected Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and he became the Bucs' franchise leader for passing yardage (19,737) and touchdowns (121) across his five years with the team.

However, the turnover-prone Winston also threw 88 interceptions, including a league-leading 30 in 2019, and he was allowed to hit free agency, with the Bucs signing Tom Brady to be their starter for 2020.

Winston, 26, remains unsigned despite leading the NFL in passing yardage last year and Licht is confident he will still be a success elsewhere.

"We have a lot of respect for Jameis," Licht told reporters on a conference call.

"Jameis was still part of our plan if things went a different route. I've got a lot of respect for him. I thought he did a lot of great things and I think anybody in our office, or our 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 organisation – that he was a bust. I think he's got a bright future ahead of him.

"It just really comes down to, we had a chance to get Tom Brady. Tom Brady is a hell of a player and we are very excited about that.

"I'm very confident that Jameis is going to go on and get an opportunity. That's not the last you're going to hear from Jameis."

While the Bucs have made a change at quarterback, Licht's comments about Ronald Jones suggest he may be the feature back in the running game next season.

After a disappointing rookie season, Jones had a combined 1,033 yards from scrimmage in 2019 and Licht believes there is plenty more to come.

"We do think Ronald still hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can be," Licht added.

"He made a huge jump from year one to year two. He didn't have to do much that because year one wasn't very good for him, but year two we felt very good about where he came. We think he still has a tremendous amount of upside.

"That doesn't stop us from wanting to add to that group, which may be something we do depending on who's there [in the draft], where they're at and what other positions we're looking at.

"We have a lot of faith in Ronald, and in fact, we have more faith in him now than we ever have."

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