In the Super Bowl era, no quarterback who led the league in passing has ever changed teams in the offseason.
And no quarterback who led the league in yards ever had to settle for a backup job and a contract that puts him among the lowest-paid QBs in the league, behind guys like Cooper Rush, Blaine Gabbert, Mike Glennon and Geno Smith.
Jameis Winston still believes though. Even if nobody else seems to.
"I know what I'm worth," Winston told Dunne. "And I know day in and day out, without publicly coming in and saying it, that historically I'm one of the best quarterbacks to play the game."
Either way, it’s a fascinating story.
Jameis Winston still confident
Only four quarterbacks have thrown for more yards than the 5,109 Winston posted last season: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisbeger. All four have won Super Bowls, will go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are legends in the sport.
Winston, a few months removed from that season, won’t even be a starter in the NFL this season barring something strange. That’s despite a pedigree as the No. 1 overall draft pick, something that earns players opportunities no matter their production.
“Do I feel like I'm better than a lot of starting quarterbacks in this league? I do,” Winston told Bleacher Report. “But God has a plan that I haven't even thought of yet.”
We all know why Winston is backing up Drew Brees. He threw 30 interceptions last season, the first 30-interception season in the NFL since 1988. Turnovers have always been his problem. That’s why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved on from the 26-year-old former Heisman winner. Off-field baggage didn’t help either.
Winston will have to prove that he has improved as a QB, in terms of being safer with the ball, though that’s hard to do when you’re not playing.
Winston makes changes
Winston changed to a vegan diet and lost 17 pounds, Dunne reported. Dunne detailed drills Winston is doing to help his decision-making and perhaps avoid interceptions. Winston had LASIK surgery to help his eyesight.
Even with those changes, he’s in a tough spot. Once a quarterback leaves the club of starters, it’s hard to get back in. It’s possible, but quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert enter the league every year. There are only 32 jobs and teams would rather gamble on unknown upside than the quarterback who passed out interceptions like candy in Tampa Bay.
Yet, Winston seems unbothered.
"Expect to see the national championship, Rookie of the Year, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback being the best version of himself, taking care of the football, bombing the ball down the field, throwing touchdown after touchdown, leading the pack and being cool as the other side of the pillow," Winston told Dunne.
Winston believes he’ll be a starter again, but will probably need a break to get the opportunity to prove that again. Even at just 26, he has already had an NFL career unlike any other.
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