Jameis Winston

Bucs WR Mike Evans Out For Season

DEC. 11: This is not surprising given the earlier reports and the fact that the Bucs are out of playoff contention, but Evans is expected to be shut down for the season, as Laine reports.

DEC. 9: The Buccaneers are dealing with injuries to some of their top offensive players, and it sounds like one of them will struggle to return this season. Coach Bruce Arians told reporters that wideout Mike Evans will miss at least a few weeks as he recovers from his hamstring injury.

“It’s not good,” Arians said (via ESPN’s Jenna Laine). “I’ll be shocked if Mike makes it back before the last week.”

Evans suffered the injury on his 61-yard touchdown in the first quarter of yesterday’s win over the Colts. The receiver initially fell to the turf in pain before limping to the sideline. Fortunately, Laine tweets that there’s no tear in the hamstring, and Evans is just dealing with a pull. The 26-year-old is having another standout season, hauling in 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns. Justin Watson filled in for Evans, with the former fifth-rounder snagging his first career touchdown.

Meanwhile, Jameis Winston suffered a hairline fracture of his thumb. The quarterback managed to finish the game, throwing for a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns (to go along with one rushing touchdown… and four interceptions). Arians implied that Winston would likely sit out practice this week but probably won’t miss any games.

“They X-rayed his thumb,” Arians said. “He’s got a little-bitty fracture. Nothing serious. He was able to get his strength back to come back in.”

Ryan Griffin played a series while Winston was sidelined. The Tulane product would likely get the start if Winston misses any time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Won’t Commit To Jameis Winston Beyond 2019

While Bruce Arians said in November that Jameis Winston had a “really good chance” of landing a Buccaneers extension, if he played well down the stretch, the first-year Tampa Bay HC will not fully commit to it.

Asked Wednesday if Winston is in the franchise’s post-2019 plans, Arians said (via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com) he will push that response until the end of the season. Winston’s contract expires at season’s end. Tampa Bay’s front office has not made a decision on Winston yet, Laine notes. Though it certainly helps that the GM who drafted Winston, Jason Licht, recently signed a contract extension.

I’m gonna pass on that one,” Arians said. “I’m gonna wait until the end of December. … There’s been really, really, really good and there’s been some really, really bad. I’m gonna pass until it’s over and then we’ll make a decision.”

Turnover-prone throughout his career, Winston has thrown a career-high 20 interceptions this season. A former Heisman Trophy recipient, Winston has committed an NFL-most 101 turnovers since 2015 but has also thrown 22 touchdown passes this season.

By not extending the 25-year-old quarterback, the Bucs would obviously be set to start over at the game’s premier position. If the season ended today, Tampa Bay would hold the 13th overall pick in next year’s draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Mack, Tagovailoa, Winston

The latest key injury updates:

  • The Colts picked up a big win over the Jaguars on Sunday, but they’ll be without a key part of their offense for at least a little while. Running back Marlon Mack fractured his hand in the win over Jacksonville, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport says that Mack won’t play on Thursday night in a key divisional game against the Texans, and that “it’s up in the air beyond that.” Mack had been the team’s workhorse on offense, regularly garnering 20+ carries. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins will both see an uptick in work in the meantime.
  • Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is done for the year with a hip injury, and there were instant fears that it could put his career in jeopardy. It’ll be a while before we know one way or the other, but the program released a new statement Sunday night that again expressed optimism. Tagovailoa is being transported to Houston to undergo surgery on his hip Monday, team surgeon Lyle Cain said in a statement, via Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News (Twitter link). Cain said that they “anticipate a full recovery,” which is great news.
  • Bengals receiver Auden Tate went down with a scary neck injury and had to be carted off the field, but fortunately it looks like he’s going to be alright. Tate had rejoined to team and was on their flight back from Oakland, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero said all tests were negative and that while he’ll be evaluated again tomorrow, “all signed” indicated that he “avoided major injury.” With A.J. Green still sidelined, Tate has been playing a huge role on offense for Cincy as they still search for their first win of the season.
  • Jameis Winston picked up a left ankle injury in the Buccaneers’ loss to the Saints, and he was limping pretty badly toward the end of the game. Speaking to the media after the loss, head coach Bruce Arians said that he was about to go to backup Ryan Griffin, and that he should’ve, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Winston was able to convince Arians to let him go back in, but the head coach apparently regretted the decision. Winston told reporters after the game that he’ll be alright moving forward.

Bucs’ Bruce Arians On Jameis Winston

Given his recent performance, there’s a “really good chance” that quarterback Jameis Winston could land a new contract if he keeps things up, head coach Bruce Arians tells Peter King of NBC Sports

He’s taken us down the field to win or tie the game the last two weeks in the last two minutes,” Arians said. “That’s the maturity of a young quarterback you’re looking for. If he plays like he has the last two weeks for the rest of the season, I’d say there’s a really good chance.”

Winston is currently playing out the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Heading into the season, there were tons of questions about Winston’s future in Tampa, but he could be playing his way into a lucrative new deal that would keep him with the club in 2020 and beyond.

Of course, this hasn’t been a banner year for the Bucs, nor has it been a tremendous season for Winston on the whole. The Bucs are 3-6 and Winston has thrown for 17 touchdowns against 14 interceptions – plus ten fumbles. Still, he’s showing serious signs of life. On

The Buccaneers continue to underachieve, with a record of 3-6 through nine games. And questions continue to swirl regarding whether quarterback Jameis Winston will continue to be the team’s quarterback after 2019. Still, the Bucs eeked out a win over the Cardinals on Sunday and they managed to take the Seahawks into overtime in the previous week, thanks in part to the former No. 1 overall pick.

Arians, in Year One as the Bucs head coach, is encouraged by what he’s seen so far. There’s also this to consider: It’s nearly impossible to find high-end quarterback in the free agent market and the Bucs currently project to pick outside of the Top 5 in the 2020 draft. A blend of big plays from Winston and a lack of quality alternatives could lead to a new deal between now and March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Fuller, Quinn, Leftwich

The Texans are hopeful that wide receiver Will Fuller will be able to retake the field next week in Baltimore against the Ravens, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Fuller has missed the team’s previous two games after suffering a hamstring injury against the Colts.

Fuller is one of the best deep threats in football, especially when he takes the field opposite of all-pro DeAndre Hopkins. Prior to his injury, Fuller was on pace to eclipse 70 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Those marks may be unattainable now, but at 6-3, the Texans are in the thick of the AFC playoff picture coming out of their bye. Fuller would surely aid them in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

Here’s more from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has been firmly on the hot-seat for many weeks. However, after a dominating victory over the Saints on Sunday, Quinn has bought himself at least a temporary reprieve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Just a few seasons away from a Super Bowl appearance, this year has fallen far short of expectations, especially on defense. However, New Orleans potent offense looked overwhelmed for much of the game.
  • After a 30-27 victory in a shootout against the Cardinals, the Buccaneers offense continues to produce in spit of Jameis Winston‘s propensity for turnovers. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich deserves a large amount of credit as the playcaller, however, he almost never got the responsibilities in the first place. In the offseason, head coach Bruce Arians had to convince ownership that someone other than him should call plays, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Extra Points: Drake, Eagles, Giants, Winston

The Lions were dealt a tough blow when they lost Kerryon Johnson to a knee injury, and they’re apparently planning on replacing him with outside help. Detroit has been “aggressively scouring the running back market” for potential trades, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Kenyan Drake is expected to be dealt by Miami in the next day or so, and we’ve already heard the Lions were interested. Robinson points out that Dolphins coach Brian Flores has a longstanding relationship with Lions coach Matt Patricia, which could help facilitate a deal. While the Lions need a running back and Drake is on the move, don’t necessarily bank on him landing in Detroit. It “didn’t sound like the Lions were close to anything on the trade front,” after speaking with a source, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There are a few teams looking for offensive tackle help, most openly the Browns. We’ve hear Eagles backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai could be an option, and Robinson tweets that he continues to hear that Vaitai is the “most available” tackle on the market. He also notes that Vaitai had “several teams” interested in him during the preseason. Vaitai started 16 games between 2016 and 2017 and is entering the final year of his contract, so it makes sense why Philly would try and get something for him.
  • Conversely, teams might have a harder time prying Nate Solder away. We’ve heard the Browns are interested in the Giants’ left tackle, but Robinson notes in the same tweet that he’ll be a “tougher get” since the Giants are “reticent” to shakeup Daniel Jones‘ offensive line too much. The former Patriot hasn’t lived up to his massive contract, but it looks like New York will hang onto him through the end of the season.
  • Marcus Mariota has already been benched by the Titans, and it sounds like his 2015 draft-classmate Jameis Winston is going to be able to avoid a similar fate. Winston had another turnover-plagued game during the Buccaneers’ Week 8 loss, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Bucs’ plan is to give Winston the rest of the season to make his case. Working in Winston’s favor is that unlike Mariota, he doesn’t have an experienced backup like Ryan Tannehill breathing down his neck. Winston’s current backup, Ryan Griffin, has never taken a regular season snap.
  • The Texans lost starting running back Lamar Miller to a torn ACL right before the start of the season, and ended up trading for running back Carlos Hyde. Although many thought Houston would be actively looking for running back help after Miller went down it was apparently the Chiefs who initiated the Hyde trade, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The Chiefs inked Hyde to a one-year, $2.8MM deal back in March, but clearly regretted it and didn’t want him on the team any longer. They landed offensive tackle Martinas Rankin in return.

NFC South Notes: Brees, McCaffrey, Winston

Let’s check out a few notes from the NFC South:

  • Drew Brees could be back from his thumb injury as soon as week 8 against the Cardinals, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Brees is in close contact with a hand specialist as he works to get back to full strength and has impressed the Saints with the strides he has made thus far. His initial timeframe from his surgery puts a return in two weeks not out of the question and there has been nothing in the process so far to have altered that schedule. If Brees can practice fully that week and show an ability to play fully and normally, then a return against the Cardinals is quite possible.
  • If the Panthers don’t extend Christian McCaffrey‘s contract during the offseason, a holdout wouldn’t be surprising, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports. McCaffrey, who has been an all around force for the Panthers this season, has the same representation as Khalil Mack and Chris Johnson. Johnson held out in 2011 with two years left on his rookie deal and eventually became one of the top paid running backs in the NFL.
  • If Jameis Winston re-signs with the Buccaneers after this season, it would not be for much more than his salary this season, the average of what an average, experienced quarterback makes, speculates Buccaneers insider Roy Cummings. Despite this, as of today’s writing, Winston has been off to an above average season thus far, throwing for 1,371 yards and 11 touchdowns through five games.

Injury Notes: Winston, Rams, Cowboys, Pack

Here is the latest from the injury front at the midweek point, beginning with another NFC South quarterback encountering injury trouble.

  • Jameis Winston is now battling a foot injury. The Buccaneers quarterback, who is in a contract year, appears on the team’s first Week 3 injury report with this issue. Winston joins Drew Brees and Cam Newton as injured NFC South quarterbacks, but his malady doesn’t appear to be nearly as severe. Winston practiced fully on Wednesday and appears in line to face the Giants.
  • Austin Blythe needed a cart to leave the field Sunday at Los Angeles Coliseum, but the Rams‘ starting right guard looks to have dodged significant trouble. The fourth-year blocker said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, on Twitter) he suffered a low ankle sprain. Blythe is not certain how much time he will miss, but considering how he left the field, this may have been the best possible outcome. If he cannot return for Sunday’s game in Cleveland, 2018 sixth-rounder Jamil Demby would be in line to start.
  • Cowboys defensive tackle Antwaun Woods suffered an MCL sprain in Week 2, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Second-round pick Trysten Hill stands to be called to action if Woods is out against the Dolphins on Sunday. Hill has yet to be active this season. Woods started 15 games as Dallas’ nose tackle last season and has reprised that role this year.
  • Darnell Savage left Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game in a walking boot, but the rookie safety looks to have received good news. Savage shed the walking boot, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneiderman (on Twitter), and has been diagnosed with a shin injury. It looks like he will be good to go for Week 3’s game against the Broncos.

NFC Notes: Leftwich, Nkemdiche, Seahawks

Not long after the Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians as their head coach in January, we learned that Arians’ new OC, Byron Leftwich, would be calling the team’s offensive plays and that Arians considered Leftwich a rising star in the coaching ranks. And as Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports, Arians’ confidence in Leftwich is such that Arians himself is not even in Jameis Winston‘s quarterbacks meeting rooms — despite Arians’ reputation as a quarterback whisperer — and Leftwich is running those meetings. This is a critical campaign for Winston, who is playing under his fifth-year option, and therefore something of a crossroads for the franchise itself. Leftwich has a lot on his plate for a young coach, but Arians clearly believes he is up to the task.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic believes that the Cardinals will cut Robert Nkemdiche before he plays another snap for the club. The former first-round pick was recently arrested for driving on a suspended license, and police found a credit card case that had a white powdery residue consistent with cocaine inside. Somers says that police decided not to test the case and elected to simply destroy it instead, but it’s still not a good look for Nkemdiche. The fact that the defensive lineman is still recovering from a knee injury and is due a $400K roster bonus if he is still on the club on the fifth day of training camp could complicate matters, but Somers still expects Nkemdiche to be gone sooner rather than later.
  • Seahawks OT Jamarco Jones, a fifth-round draft choice in 2018, did not see any regular season action during his rookie campaign, as he suffered an ankle injury in the preseason opener that put him on the shelf for the whole year. Still, he flashed potential last training camp, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects him to make the club as a backup tackle. And, with George Fant and Germain Ifedi eligible for free agency in 2020, Jones could position himself nicely for a starting role next year.
  • Condotta also expects the Seahawks to continue exploring pass rush options and secondary help.
  • We heard earlier today that the Lions are exploring a deal with free agent DT Domata Peko.

Bucs Rumors: Winston, McCoy, Monken

Here’s the latest out of Tampa:

  • The Buccaneers say they’re looking for a new head coach, but not looking for a new starting quarterback. “Jameis Winston will be here. We have him under contract for a year,” GM Jason Licht said (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “He has done some amazing things for a young 24, turns 25 in a week, quarterback. He’s accomplished more than most of the elite quarterbacks have at his age throughout that time span. There’s a lot to like about Jameis. Jameis will be here next year.” The Bucs picked up the fifth year option on Winston’s contract, which should keep him in place for another season at a rate of $20.92MM. Of course, the option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Buccaneers could theoretically get out of the deal.
  • Licht cannot guarantee that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be back with the team in 2019 (Twitter link via Stroud). “We have a lot of tough decisions to make,” Licht said. Thanks to the seven-year, $95.2MM contract extension he signed with the Bucs in 2014, McCoy is slated to be back with the team in 2019 at a $13MM cap number. However, it is a non-guaranteed deal. Despite Tampa Bay’s problems on defense and McCoy’s injury trouble, he still turned in a decent year for the Bucs. McCoy graded out as the No. 27 ranked defensive tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Licht says the Buccaneers will not consider in-house candidates for the head coaching job, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. That automatically rules out offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who may be up for the Jets job.