The Buccaneers have extended their faith in quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs have picked up the fifth-year option on Winston’s contract, the team announced Tuesday, thus paying him $20.9 million for the 2019 season.
Last year, in his third season since being picked first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston struggled with injury and threw for only 3,504 yards in 13 games. He had 19 touchdown passes with 11 interceptions.
Still, Winston has been solid on the field for Tampa Bay through three seasons, finishing with a quarterback rating of at least 82 in each season.
Off the field, Winston is currently accused of groping an Uber driver in an alleged November incident. He has not yet heard from the NFL about any possible punishment.
“I know the NFL has a process that they have to go through, and I respect that process. It’s not my job to speculate on that process,” Winston said, via ESPN.com. “My focus has been with this organization, getting the guys back in here and focusing what we can do to become a better team this offseason.”
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The former number one overall pick in the 2015 draft , is now guaranteed to make over $20 million for the 2019 season. He is slated to make $3.9 million in base salary and roster bonuses for 2018.
The Bucs are also preparing for the future and a deal that gets even better for Winston. That’s because, he likely will receive a massive contract worth north of $150 million total at some point in the next year-and-a-half and that will erase the current $20 million+ cap hit 2019 for the team.
Because Winston’s fifth-year option is guaranteed only for injury, the Bucs will still be able to release him with no cap penalty if the NFL finds wrongdoing in the case and the team elects to cut ties. The Bucs have been fairly steadfast in their support of Winston over the years, and team co-chairman Joe Glazer recently responded “absolutely not” when asked if the allegations changed the team’s perception of Winston.