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Jameis Winston clear to join new team as free agent

Could Jameis Winton’s time in Tampa Bay be coming to a close?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston drops back to attempt a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Raymond James Stadium.  Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston has been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since they selected him with the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but now it seems likely that he’ll hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Tampa Bay used its franchise tag on pass rusher Shaquil Barrett Monday, so Winston’s future with the team is up in the air.

Winston had an interesting year under coach Bruce Arians in 2019, as he led the league in both passing yards (5,109) and interceptions (30). He also threw 33 touchdown passes, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. He showcased his ability to make big plays, but his questionable decision-making likely caused the Buccaneers’ front office to be cautious about making a long-term commitment to him.

Tampa Bay is said to be going all-in for Tom Brady in free agency, but where does that leave Winston? Winston is reportedly asking for around $30 million per year moving forward, but perhaps he’s willing to take less and return to the Buccaneers if they strike out on TB12. If not, he could test his luck with other teams. The Las Vegas Raiders could be interested in having an option to motivate Derek Carr. The Miami Dolphins also come to mind, but how the draft and other player movement around the league shake out could impact where Winston lands in the end.