Jameis Winston to the New York Giants was an idea proposed by some earlier in the season, and it seemed absurd. I was one of the first ones to call a move for Winston impossible, but the circumstances have changed a bit since then. Not many predicted that Ryan Fitzpatrick would perform just as well for the Buccaneers, or that Fitzpatrick would beat Winston in an open battle for the starting quarterback job in Tampa.
Few also predicted that the Giants would be as bad as they are at this point in the season, with only two wins. They aren’t just a mediocre team, but a desperate one, and for good reason. The Giants might very well pick in the top three or even number one overall this year, but will they take a quarterback or go for other options?
Tampa is also struggling this season and only has three wins. They’re just as much of a rebuilding team as the Giants are and they’ll have to make a decision on the fifth year option for Winston, who currently isn’t their starting quarterback going into Sunday’s clash with the Giants.
“So at this moment, as coaches, we’re paid to try and win. We keep our jobs by winning. So sometimes the margin of those decisions are extreme between who a player is in terms of their skill set to the next player where it’s obvious. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, but you still have to make that decision,” said Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken, on the decision to play Fitzpatrick instead of Winston.
With Fitzpatrick throwing more touchdowns and less interceptions than Winston right now, it seems more unlikely every week that Tampa will choose to bring Winston back for another year. After all, Winston has a big salary and there’s no point paying it if he won’t even be the surefire starter.
MMQB writer Conor Orr also had this to say about the argument for Winston switching teams:
His teammates seemed to respond much better to Fitzpatrick… If Winston plays marginally well, he’ll need a top of the market APY on his next contract. If he doesn’t, the franchise has significantly delayed its ability to find its next quarterback.
Of course, even if Winston isn’t the right quarterback for the Buccaneers, he would likely find some success with the Giants. Eli Manning is still capable of having a good game, but it would be foolish to assume that this is going to last forever and that the Giants don’t need to line up a replacement.
The former Heisman winner and national champion from Florida State would also have an easier time putting up big passing numbers as part of an offense that features Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and other weapons to compliment the main passing targets. It’s also safe to assume that the Giants will do something to upgrade the offensive line this season.
However, Winston is due $20M next year if the Buccaneers exercise the fifth year option on his contract. That’s an idea of how much the Giants might have to pay if they want to pursue him as a free agent. It’s not impossible to pay that much, but Eli Manning would have to retire or otherwise leave the team for it to work. Manning is owed $23M next year, which is the highest cap hit on the team.
It won’t be easy to sell it to the fans, if the Giants decide to move on from Manning in favor of the controversial Winston. But it never is. Fanbases rarely like it when a legendary player is replaced by someone who hasn’t proven themselves yet. Should the Giants plan on trying to sign Winston anyway, assuming that he’s available?
It might not be the most popular signing. But it does make a lot of sense.
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