Jameis Winston may not have lived up to expectations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the fact he still hasn’t found a new NFL team should be a major red flag. The former No. 1 overall pick played out all five years of his rookie contract, yet the Bucs wisely decided not to invest in him longterm. That seemed like a logical conclusion to one of the most confusing careers in recent NFL history.
Talent has never been the question with Winston. He won a national title at Florida State. He even led the NFL in passing yards last season. On the other hand, he also threw a league-high 30 interceptions. Dating back to his college days, maturity and decision-making have been major question marks. And if his latest workout videos prove anything, it’s that NFL teams should be scared of handing Jameis Winston millions of dollars when he has no idea what he’s doing.
Jameis Winston didn’t live up to expectations with Buccaneers
Just five years ago, the Buccaneers made Jameis Winston the top pick of the 2015 NFL draft. At 6-foot-4, 231 pounds with a cannon for an arm, he had all of the physical qualities teams look for in a franchise quarterback. The Alabama native established a reputation as an adept playmaker in college under Jimbo Fisher. However, his NFL career never matched the hype.
As a rookie, Winston threw for 4,042 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 6-10 Bucs team. There certainly seemed to be a base to build from. In his second season, he put up similar numbers as Tampa barely missed the playoffs. However, it’s essentially been a downhill slide for the talented but enigmatic quarterback.
Injuries limited Winston to just 22 starts from 2017-2018, but he returned to start all 16 games last season. Of course, he infamously became the first member of the 30-30 club. Unlike baseball, it’s not a prideful accomplishment. Despite prolific seasons from star wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, the Buccaneers went 7-9 due to their quarterback’s poor ball security.
In five seasons with the Bucs, Winston tossed 121 touchdowns and a whopping 88 interceptions. He compounded his ball-security issue by fumbling 50 times, including 12 last year. Every time he seemed to take a step forward, he took another two steps back. Tampa made a major upgrade at quarterback this offseason by replacing the disappointing former No. 1 pick with Tom Brady.
Former No. 1 pick draws criticism for unorthodox workouts
For all of his downfalls, Jameis Winston’s toughness could never be questioned. He played through several injuries last season, including a broken thumb and torn meniscus. This offseason, he underwent LASIK eye surgery to help correct his vision. Perhaps he should have done that a long time ago given his penchant for turning the ball over.
Determined to prove his work ethic, Winston has posted several workout videos this spring on social media. His most recent training video shows him trying to dodge a heavy boxing bag aimed at his head. His trainer, Otis Leverette, pushes the bag toward the QB, who ducks and dodges out of the way. Let’s just say his training methods didn’t exactly excite one former NFL QB.
Fellow former No. 1 draft pick David Carr blasted Winston for his unorthodox pocket presence drill. And rightly so. The idea that dodging a boxing bag simulates anything close to what a quarterback feels in the pocket is downright silly. It’s just the latest confusing drill that Winston has made public this offseason.
While Brady has carved out a successful business with his TB12 Method, Winston’s idea of preparation just proves he has no idea what he’s doing. Sure, his videos make for a great social media discussion. But do they really benefit his NFL career in any way? If this is the same trainer he’s worked with for years, isn’t it time to consider a new approach?
Winston still searching for new home
So far, Jameis Winston’s workouts have been in vain. The draft bust has yet to sign with a new NFL team and will likely have to wait for an injury to an established starter to open up a spot. If not, the former top overall pick will have to settle in as a backup and try and rehabilitate his value.
That’s a far fall for a player who looked like a surefire superstar in college. Winston’s lack of development and questionable mental makeup make him a difficult player to assess. Teams like the Patriots and Chargers may not want want to pay him starting money after his shaky 2019 season. And franchises picking high in the draft will likely opt for the upside of Tua Tagovaoila, Justin Herbert or even Jordan Love over a player who’s shown little development in five years.
Considering he hasn’t been connected to any NFL team, it’s fair to wonder whether Winston is doing more damage with his weird workout videos. NFL teams may not admit it, but they should be scared at his offseason approach. Until Jameis Winston is willing to change his training, he’ll never live up to his immense potential. Then again, his window to be an NFL star may have already passed.