The Buccaneers have picked up the fifth-year option on Winston's rookie contract, locking him in for 2019 at a $20.922 million salary that's only guaranteed against injury, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The fifth-year option ensures Winston can't hit free agency or receive the franchise tag next season, giving the Bucs a bit of leverage in negotiations on a long-term contract. The team may be hesitant to work on a deal at the moment, as the NFL still hasn't talked to Winston about a November accusation that he groped an Uber driver in 2016, ESPN.com's Jenna Laine reports. Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer, general manager Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter all have expressed frustration with the league's slow movement on the case. Winston reported Monday for the start of the Buccaneers' offseason program.
Winston was involved in a car wreck recently and ultimately was cited for careless driving, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Despite Winston being partially at fault for the wreck, a punishment from the NFL is not expected and he was uninjured. The 24-year-old will head into the 2018 season on the last remaining year of his contract.
Winston completed 28 of 51 passes for 363 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in Sundays' 31-24 win over the Saints. He also posted 32 yards and scored a touchdown on five rushes.
Winston's final effort of a tumultuous 2017 fittingly had a bit of everything thrown in. The third-year quarterback managed to display some of the best and worst aspects of his game in the wild season-ending contest, as he short-circuited a trio of drives in Saints territory with interceptions. Conversely, he also managed to set a season high in rushing yards while scoring his first touchdown on the ground since Week 4 of the 2016 campaign. Moreover, Winston finished the season with consecutive 300-yard tallies and six such efforts overall. He saved his best for last Sunday as well, hitting Chris Godwin with a perfectly-thrown, go-ahead 39-yard touchdown with nine seconds remaining to cap off an 11-play, 95-yard drive. While he struggled with turnovers at times during the tail end of the campaign, Winston provided reason for optimism heading into a pivotal Year 4 with the way he led the Buccaneers to victory against a team that needed to win to ensure itself the NFC South crown.
Winston completed 21 of 27 passes for 367 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Panthers. He also rushed three times for six yards and lost three fumbles.
Winston's performance was all over the map, as he rewarded fantasy owners with his second-highest yardage total of the season but also was a turnover machine under the constant pressure he was subjected to. The third-year quarterback was sacked on six occasions and officially hit eight times overall, helping lead to three fumbles. The final turnover of the day was not without controversy, as Winston argued that he'd recovered the loose ball at his own 18-yard line with 35 seconds remaining and the Buccaneers attempting to drive for a game-tying field-goal attempt. Winston's boisterousness while making his case earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and he remained visibly upset on the sideline for several minutes after the play. Despite the unpleasant outcome, the 23-year-old did complete well over 70 percent of his passes for the second straight game, and he's now generated an 8:2 TD:INT over four December contests. He'll look to finish the season on a strong note against the Saints in a Week 17 home matchup.
Winston completed 27 of 35 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns in Monday night's 24-21 loss to the Falcons. He also rushed three times for 18 yards.
Winston turned in a stellar performance despite losing wideout DeSean Jackson and tight end O.J. Howard to ankle injuries early in Monday's contest. Without those prominent targets, Winston shared the wealth among Tampa Bay's pass catchers, completing a season-high 77.1 percent of his throws to a whopping 11 different players. Along with utilizing unfamiliar faces in the short game, two of Winston's three touchdowns came from over 25 yards, including a 42-yard bomb to Mike Evans during the third quarter. Although his heroics weren't enough to get Tampa Bay back in the win column, Winston can't be faulted for his Week 15 display.
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||535||312||58.3||4042||7.56||68||22||15||27/190||57||9||84.2|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||567||345||60.8||4090||7.21||45||28||18||35/239||43||4||86.1|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||13||442||282||63.8||3504||7.93||70||19||11||33/207||32||5||92.2|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||54||213||3.9||21||6||2||18|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||16||53||165||3.1||14||1||0||10|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||13||33||135||4.1||17||1||0||7|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2015||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||6||2||0||4||0||0||4||0|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||10||6||0||3||0||0||3||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||15||7||0||7||0||0||7||0|