|Team:||New Orleans Saints|
|Ht / Wt:||6'4" / 231 lb.|
|Born:||January 6, 1994|
|Drafted:||2015 / Rd. 1 (1)|
Winston operated as the Saints' No. 2 on Thursday as he continues to split work with Taysom Hill, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: After signing with New Orleans in the offseason, Winston was expected to battle for the backup job with the incumbent Hill, and that's how things are playing out thus far in camp. Hill is likely to see some work on offense regardless of his place in the quarterback pecking order, but Winston's value - both real-life and fantasy - is tied to the health of Drew Brees.
Winston is expected to be the top backup behind starter Drew Brees, Larry Holder of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Holder notes this is just speculation, as the Saints have not underwent any sort of organized team activities or minicamps, but the claim makes sense given Winston's resume as a starter, and the overall role presumed backup option, Taysom Hill, has on the totality of the offense. Hill's offensive flexibility makes him a valuable commodity regardless of the backup quarterback label, and the $16 million extension he signed in the offseason reinforces that notion the 29-year-old is likely considered the "future" starter as opposed to Winston. Still, as we saw with Teddy Bridgewater in 2019, the comfy confines of the Saints offensive system can do wonders for the prospects of a backup quarterback, especially one as gifted as the former No. 1 overall pick.
Winston (thumb) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Saints on Tuesday.
Analysis: The Saints and Winston have been finalizing the contract over the last few days, and the deal is now official with the passing of Monday's deadline for signings factoring into the compensatory pick formula. The departure of Teddy Bridgewater this offseason would appear to open up the backup job for Winston, but he instead likely will be in competition for the job with holdover Taysom Hill. Even with an injury to Drew Brees, Winston isn't guaranteed to immediately lead the offense as Bridgewater did last season. However, spending a year under the tutelage of Brees and Sean Payton should still prove beneficial after the 2015 first-overall pick led the NFL with 30 interceptions in 2019.
Winston (thumb) is in the process of finalizing a one-year contract with the Saints, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports.
Analysis: Reports surfaced shortly after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday that the Saints were interested in bringing Winston aboard, and the two sides were apparently able to quickly hammer out the parameters of a deal. As Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes, the Saints may choose to wait until after 4 p.m. ET to make Winston's signing official, as New Orleans wouldn't have to surrender a compensatory draft choice after that deadline. Assuming the deal ultimately gets finalized, Robinson notes that Winston wouldn't be guaranteed the top backup quarterback job vacated when Teddy Bridgewater signed with Carolina in March; instead, Winston would have to battle with holdover Taysom Hill for the No. 2 role in a best-case scenario. Even though Winston's path to a starting gig in New Orleans would be blocked barring an injury to Drew Brees, the opportunity to spend a developmental year under offensive guru Sean Payton could help the 26-year-old cash in as a free agent next offseason in a manner similar to Bridgewater, who signed a three-year, $63 million deal with the Panthers.
Winston's (thumb/knee) former coach in Tampa Bay, Bruce Arians, said Wednesday in an interview on Fox Sports Radio's "The Rich Eisen Show" that he's reached out to two teams, campaigning for them to sign the quarterback, Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I talked to two teams," Arians said. "I think it was just to [tell them], 'Get him on your roster' and it would be a great fit. One team was not interested and the other one was."
Analysis: Winston's hopes of returning to Tampa Bay for a sixth season ended nearly two weeks ago, when it became apparent that Tom Brady was leaving New England to sign with the Buccaneers. Though he's just 26 years old and has 70 career starts on his resume, Winston's high turnover rate has likely contributed heavily to the cool market he's faced thus far in free agency. With few -- if any -- starting jobs open for Winston and another experienced, more accomplished option in Cam Newton also looking for work, Winston could be forced to settle for a backup job at his next stop.
Winston's (thumb/knee) 2020 status is currently the subject of much speculation, and the Buccaneers sound increasingly open to other free-agent options at the position, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Auman formed his conclusions regarding the team's seemingly cooling interest on their first overall pick of 2015 from comments made by both general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians during the NFL Combine. Arians referred to Winston as an "unknown quantity" while heaping unfettered praise on fellow free-agent-to-be Shaq Barrett in the same breath. The veteran offensive guru also made mention of a head coach being obligated to explore the possibility of a better option at the position if there are any doubts about the starting quarterback, following up that remark by offering up the names of Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers as players whose availability he'd theoretically inquire about ahead of free agency. Licht would only offer tepid endorsement of Winston in his own right, and given the transition and franchise tags would cost the Bucs $25 and $27 million, respectively, for this coming season, there appears to be growing evidence the team may be prepared to move on.
Winston reportedly underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus that required trimming, NFL.com reports.
Analysis: The report doesn't specify when the procedure occurred, but this nugget only reinforces that the QB -- who was already known to have previously been dealing with a hairline fracture in his throwing thumb -- played through some aches and pains this past season. In the process, the 26-year-old threw for 5,109 yards, but logged a shaky 33:30 TD:INT ratio. In any case, as free agency approaches, this nugget adds some context to the mixed results the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft put up in 2019. At this stage, a return to the Bucs -- either on a new deal or through a franchise or transition tag -- still seems like a plausible outcome for Winston.
Winston has undergone LASIK surgery to improve his vision, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Analysis: Winston has dealt with nearsightedness since his collegiate days at Florida State, and question marks surrounding his vision resurfaced at the end of the 2019 season when coach Bruce Arians said "[Winston] can't read the scoreboard but he can see the guys in front of him." Whether at the behest of Tampa Bay's coaching staff or via his own discretion, Winston has now undergone a laser-assisted eye procedure with the hope of improving his vision. Of course, it remains to be seen what effect the surgery will ultimately have in potentially enhancing the 26-year-old's accuracy. Winston, who became the first signal-caller in NFL history pass for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last season, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. He also dealt with a fracture in his right thumb during the latter portion of the 2019 campaign.
Winston has a full cast on the right thumb injury that he played through down the stretch of the 2019 season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: The Buccaneers termed the issue a slight fracture, which he suffered Week 14 and impacted his practice reps in advance of the final three games. During that span, he tossed 10 interceptions to reach the dubious 30-30 club: he's the only QB in NFL history to record at least 30 touchdowns and 30 picks in the same campaign. He didn't exactly get an endorsement from Bruce Arians following the season finale, with the coach telling Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times the team will make a decision on the signal-caller's future in the next couple weeks. Winston's rookie contract has come to an end, so one of the franchise or transition tags may be his best bet to stick around Tampa Bay.
Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that a decision on Winston's status with the organization heading into the 2020 season will likely be made within the next couple of weeks, though the Buccaneers aren't expected to publicly announce their plans for the quarterback until March, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Analysis: After completing his first year on the job for Tampa Bay, Arians didn't exactly offer up a ringing endorsement for Winston, who became the first player in NFL history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season. According to Stroud, Arians told the media that Winston is "bright" and "hard working," but also noted the Buccaneers can also win with another quarterback. With Tampa Bay expected to make inking wideout Chris Godwin to an extension a priority this offseason, Winston -- if retained -- would be more logical choice for the Bucs' franchise tag rather than a candidate to re-sign on a long-term deal. If the organization determines Winston isn't the answer for 2020, expect the team to turn its attention to the trade market or free agency for a starting quarterback, and/or address the position with the No. 14 overall pick in April's draft.
Winston completed 13 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Buccaneers' 28-22 overtime loss to the Falcons on Sunday. He also rushed twice for five yards.
Analysis: Winston's final pass attempt of a rather unique 2019 fittingly ended in a pick-six interception that ended the game in overtime. With that pick, the embattled fifth-year pro became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. Winston gets a pass to some degree for working without Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for the last three and two games, respectively, due to hamstring injuries, but many of his decisions that led to turnovers this season appeared to be downright inexcusable. Despite recent reports the Buccaneers are interested in keeping Winston around for 2020, the coming weeks and months will be the ultimate determinant. For his part, head coach Bruce Arians summed up what the organization's general feeling about Winston might be when asked in his postgame press conference, stating that "there's so much good and so much outright terrible" about his quarterback, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
Winston (thumb/knee) is active for Sunday's Week 17 tilt against the Falcons, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Winston was fully expected to take the field after putting in two unrestricted practices to finish the week, and this makes it official. The fifth-year quarterback will have one final opportunity to make a strong impression ahead of his pivotal offseason, but he'll once again work without his top receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin due to their respective hamstring injuries.
The Buccaneers list Winston (thumb/knee) as questionable for Sunday's game against the Falcons.
Analysis: Winston was able to conclude Week 17 prep with back-to-back full practices, so he may have carried a probable tag into the regular-season finale if the NFL still allowed that designation. While playing through a slight fracture in his right thumb, Winston tossed four interceptions in last week's loss to the Texans to bring his total to an NFL-high 28, but he'll look to close the season on a high note against a similarly suspect Atlanta pass defense. Though turnovers have been a concern for Winston throughout the season -- and his career, frankly -- he's at least notched personal bests in touchdowns (31) and passing yards (4,908) along the way.
Winston (thumb/knee) practiced in full Thursday, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Winston has played through a slight fracture in his thumb in each of the Buccaneers' past three games, and while he tossed for at least 450 yards and recorded four TD passes in the first two chances, he fell off a cliff Week 16 against the Texans, throwing four picks versus one touchdown in a losing effort. Still, he's sitting just 92 yards away from 5,000 through the air for the first time in his career and also can continue to add to a career-best 31 scoring strikes Sunday against the Falcons, which he's good to go for after upgrading to full participant at Thursday's session.
Winston (thumb/knee) is listed as a limited participant on Wednesday's estimated practice report.
Analysis: Winston has played through a fractured right thumb over the past two games, dazzling in a Week 15 win over the Lions (28 for 42 for 458 yards, four touchdowns and an interception) and disappointing in a Week 16 loss to the Texans (25 for 48 for 335 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions). Though Tampa Bay doesn't have much at stake in Week 17, the expectation is that Winston will have his reps capped again Thursday while managing the thumb and knee injuries before putting in a full workout Friday. He may still carry an injury designation into Sunday's game against the Falcons, but it would be a surprise if Winston wasn't cleared to play.
Winston is expected to return to the Buccaneers in 2020 despite having thrown a career-high 28 interceptions through 15 games, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
Analysis: Rapoport's report was filed before Winston threw another four interceptions in a loss to the Texans on Saturday that officially extinguished the Buccaneers' playoff hopes. However, the team appears to have already made their 2020 decision on Winston. Rapoport cites the improvement Winston has shown in coach Bruce Arians' pass-centric system overall -- interceptions aside -- and the upside the team still believes he possesses as the reasons why Tampa will utilize either the franchise or transition tag on him this offseason in the presumed absence of an agreement on a long-term contract prior to the March 10 tag application deadline. It's worth noting use of the transition tag will leave open the possibility of another team putting forth an offer sheet for the 2015 first overall pick that the Buccaneers are unable or unwilling to match.
Winston (thumb/knee) completed 25 of 48 passes for 335 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions in Saturday's 23-20 loss to Houston. He also rushed twice for 16 yards.
Analysis: Winston got off to a dreadful start, as his first pass was returned for an interception touchdown and the next possession ended with another interception. He was picked off for a third time in the second quarter but found Justin Watson for an eight-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left before halftime to tie the game at 17-17. The second half was less eventful, with Winston's fourth interception dashing any hopes of a comeback with 1:31 remaining. He eclipsed 300 passing yards for the ninth time in his last 10 games but has a 31:28 TD:INT this season, as this was his third game of four-plus interceptions. With the leaky Falcons secondary visiting in Week 17, the risk-taking quarterback should continue to pile up yards, even with top two wide receivers Mike Evans (hamstring) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) likely to sit out again.
Winston (right thumb/knee) is listed as active for Saturday's game against the Texans, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports
Analysis: Though Winston, who's been playing through a thumb injury of late, carried an injury designation into the game after being limited at practice Tuesday and Wednesday, he was listed as a full participant Thursday, setting the stage for him to face Houston on Saturday. He'll be without his top two wideouts in Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Mike Evans (hamstring), but Winston is coming off a 458-yard effort in Week 15's win over the Lions and will now look to spread the ball around to the likes of Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson, as well as tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. In the process, Winston - who the Bucs are slated to bring back for the 2020 season - will take aim at a Houston defense that has allowed an average of 266.1 yards in the air (only four teams have surrendered more) to go along with 30 passing TDs through 14 contests.
The Buccaneers list Winston (thumb) as questionable for Saturday's game against the Texans, Carmen Vitali of Tampa Bay's official site reports.
Analysis: As was also the case ahead of the Buccaneers' Dec. 15 win over the Lions, Winston will carry a designation into game day after the small fracture in his right thumb restricted his practice reps during the week. The Buccaneers barred Winston from throwing a football Tuesday and Wednesday, but he was able to do so during Thursday's session, earning a "full participation" listing on the team's injury report in the process. With Winston experiencing no reported complications coming out of practice, he's fully expected to play Saturday, though he'll have to make do without his top two targets in Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Mike Evans (hamstring).
Winston (thumb/knee) practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday.
Analysis: With a slight thumb fracture in tow, Winston seems to be operating under a similar practice regimen to last week, when he didn't throw until Friday's session. On that occasion, he proceeded to put together a season-best 458 yards on 28-for-42 passing Sunday at Detroit, compiling four touchdowns and an interception along the way. Even if he heads into the weekend as questionable, Winston seems poised to be available Saturday against a Texans defense that has allowed the fourth-most passing TDs (30) to quarterbacks this season.
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