Bill Cowher thinks that the Steelers 'would be a great fit' for Jameis Winston
The soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach thinks Winston should sign with his former team
Jameis Winston, the NFL's reigning passing champion, remains unsigned as the league's new year extends into its second month. When and where Winston, the Buccaneers' former quarterback and the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, will land next is anyone's guess.
Bill Cowher, a former Super Bowl-winning head coach, current CBS NFL analyst and member of the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, recently offered his thoughts on where Winston should land this offseason. Cowher, during a recent appearance on "Boomer and Gio," was asked by Boomer Esiason if the Steelers -- the team Cowher coached from 1992-06 -- would be a good fit for Winston, a scenario this offseason.
"I think it would be a great fit, only from the standpoint that I kinda sense where Pittsburgh is going with this football team," Cowher said. "It's identity has been on the offensive side of the ball, with the Killer B's, with Ben [Roethlisberger] and [Le'Veon] Bell and [Antonio] Brown. And now, what I think you saw was a little transformation last year was getting back to the way it used to be with a very defensive-minded football team.
"I think Jameis Winston could be a good fit if he's willing to accept that one year sitting behind Ben, or maybe two years," Cowher continued. "I just think that that would be the biggest obstacle to overcome, is for Jameis to just sit there and not think that he has a chance to compete for the job and to take a minimal salary, because that's basically what he's gonna have to take to go to Pittsburgh … So, I just don't know if that fit will happen right now just because the timing of it."
The second part of Cowher's answer is the biggest reason why Winston will likely pass on joining forces with Big Ben, JuJu Smith-Schuster and the rest of the Steelers. While his interception tally last season (30) is a clear black eye, Winston likely believes that he is still a starting quarterback and may decide to wait until an opportunity to start presents itself before he signs with a team. One challenge (beyond last year's interception total) Winston is facing is the oversaturated quarterback market that currently exists, with 2015 league MVP Cam Newton also on the open market.
If he accepts a backup position, Pittsburgh, for the reasons Cowher alluded to above, would be a good landing spot for Winston, at least for the 2020 season. Winston would get a chance to work with Roethlisberger, who is also looking to bounce back this season after missing all but two games last season with an elbow injury. And, given Big Ben's injury history, there's a chance that Winston would get at least a few opportunities to show what he can do in a relief role should Roethlisberger sustain an injury that would require him to miss some time.
Winston would also get a chance to play with a perennially sound offensive line and skill position players that included Smith-Schuster, fellow 2018 Pro Bowlers James Conner and Eric Ebron along with up and coming receivers Diontae Johnson and James Washington. He would also be completed with one of the league's emerging defenses, led by 2019 Pro Bowlers Cam Heyward, Joe Haden, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
And while there would be the chance at Winston becoming Big Ben's heir apparent, an acceptable season in Pittsburgh could lead to a strong endorsement from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, one of the league's most respected head coaches, if Winston ends up pursing another opportunity sometime down the road. Winston did not receive that type of endorsement from Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, who was openly critical of his former quarterback during their one season together.
Regardless of where he ends up, Cowher believes that a fresh start will be beneficial for the 26-year-old Winston.
"It will be interesting to see where Jameis lands," Cowher said. "He's a guy who's been feast or famine. You question the judgements he makes at times, the throws that he makes. A whole new city, and a chance to just kinda reinvent himself would be a good thing for him, but it's got to be in the right place."
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the XFL may not be dead just yet
This despite suggestions that in-person minicamps could still be possible in June
Up to 230 cars will be allowed inside the complex to watch classic movies and old Dolphins...
The lineman clears the air on a potential return for the players
Singletary last coached in the NFL in 2016
Check out how the interior of the $2 billion stadium is shaping up
Here's the perfect way to keep track of all your schedule leaks and updates in one place
CBS Sports is bringing you live updates and analysis as the 2020 NFL Draft wraps up on Saturday
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Jaguars vs. Colts football game