Report: Buccaneers will bring Jameis Winston back in 2019 - does it affirm Dirk Koetter is out?

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Apparently believing they can’t do any better, whether in the NFL draft, via trade or by trying to lure Teddy Bridgewater away from the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers intend to bring back Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback in 2019.

This according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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With reports that suggest head coach Dirk Koetter is on his way out, could this be affirmation that Koetter will be fired?

The right man for the job?

Headed for a divorce? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will reportedly keep Jameis Winston as the team’s quarterback in 2019, putting coach Dirk Koetter’s future with the team in doubt. (AP)
Headed for a divorce? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will reportedly keep Jameis Winston as the team’s quarterback in 2019, putting coach Dirk Koetter’s future with the team in doubt. (AP)

Citing sources, Schefter writes that “the Buccaneers believe that Winston is the right man for the job and the right quarterback to get behind” despite the three-game suspension he served to start this season (he was accused by a female Uber driver in Arizona of groping her between the legs during a fare) and his inconsistent play.

Tampa Bay picked up the fifth-year option on Winston’s contract, meaning he’s due $20 million for 2019.

Over the first four seasons of his career, Winston has completed 61.5 percent of his passes, with 84 touchdowns and 57 interceptions, for a passer rating of 87.1. Tampa Bay is 21-32 in the 53 games Winston has started since joining the team as the No. 1 pick in 2015, and has yet to make the playoffs.

(By way of comparison, Marcus Mariota, chosen No. 2 in 2015 by the Tennessee Titans, has a 63.2 percent completion mark, 69 touchdowns against 42 interceptions, and 89.4 passer rating. Tennessee is 27-28 in his 55 regular-season starts, and 1-1 in two playoff games last year.)

Winston has eight starts and 10 appearances this season. His completion percentage of 64.7 is a career best, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio is nearly 1:1, at 15-13. Winston also has seven fumbles.

Looking to make history

If the Buccaneers believe Winston is their quarterback of the future, he could do something no other quarterback drafted in the team’s history has done: sign a second contract. Of all the quarterbacks Tampa Bay has drafted in its 42-year history, including Doug Williams, Steve Young, Vinny Testaverde and Trent Dilfer, none has received a second contract.

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Tampa Bay could also franchise Winston in 2020, rather than sign him to a multi-year deal, or let him go.

Is Koetter out?

If Winston stays, does this signal the end for Koetter? The Buccaneers shoved Lovie Smith out the door in 2016 to elevate Koetter from offensive coordinator to head coach, thinking if they didn’t they might lose him to another team.

This season, Koetter has switched back-and-forth between Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and stripped offensive play-caller Todd Monken of his duties, only to give them back after one game.

Koetter has also made some odd comments this year, making one wonder if he actually likes his job: in October, in announcing that Winston would start Week 6, he said, “Jameis Winston is the guy that’s going to be here way longer than I am”; that came a couple of weeks after an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears, when Koetter suggested he should be fired.

The Buccaneers entered Sunday 19-28 with Koetter at the helm.

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