Maybe it’s the fact that most of the country is stuck at home. Maybe it’s that the NFL off-season is the only thing sports related to talk about right now. Whatever the reason, the Jameis Winston to the Steelers rumors just won’t go away. Even NFL writer Peter King has chimed in on the possibility. https://www.si.com/nfl/steelers/news/peter-king-jameis-winston-steelers
On paper, this move makes a lot of sense. Pittsburgh needs a veteran backup quarterback in case Ben Roethlisberger were to go down again. Winston needs a place to reset his once promising career. Let’s take a look at how both sides could benefit from joining forces in 2020:
The Steelers side:
There’s no denying how bad the quarterback situation got after Ben Roethlisberger went down last season. It was a train wreck that ultimately cost the team a spot in the playoffs. So far the Kevin Colbert has not done anything to address that position, leaving the team vulnerable to a repeat of last year. Even though the news on Big Ben’s recovery has been good so far, there’s still no guarantee he can come back to full strength. That makes the Steelers quarterback room a very scary place. Do the Steelers have the worst quarterback situation in the AFC North?
Colbert has a history of bringing in veteran quarterbacks as a backup for Roethlisberger. From Micheal Vick, to Byron Leftwich, to Charlie Batch the team usually has a backup with some starting experience. So why not add a player like Jameis Winston? Well the answer is simple……..money. If Winston is looking for anywhere near starter money, the Steelers would be out of the running with their limited cap space. Right now Spotrac has the Steelers at a little over eight million under the cap. https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/cap/2020/
The only way this works is if Jameis Winston was willing to take a lesser salary in order to reset his career. Which brings us to his side of the equation:
The Winston side:
In case you haven’t heard, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new quarterback. Some guy named Tom Brady signed with the team a few days ago. That means Jameis Winston is need of a new job. His options appear to be very limited with the flurry of quarterback moves already made, and the three or four top tier options in the draft.
At this point there are only a handful of teams in need of a starting quarterback:
1. New England Patriots – no chance
2. Miami Dolphins – drafting a qb
3. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – seem to like Minshew, but maybe
5. Los Angeles Chargers – thats one
6. Washington Redskins – maybe, but they just acquired a qb
So at this point Winston has the Chargers, and that’s pretty much it. And he would seem to be competing with Cam Newton who has been given the right to seek a trade by the Carolina Panthers. On the other hand, there are several teams who could use a veteran backup with some upside including the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There is a real possibility Winston may have to accept a backup role for at least one season. His value took quite a dip after what can only be described as a bizarre 2019 season. Many expected a big year with quarterback guru Bruce Arians taking over as Buccaneers. Instead we got one of the strangest statistical seasons any quarterback has ever had. Winston threw a whopping thirty interceptions in 2019, seven of those resulted in pick-sixes. He also threw thirty touchdowns, only further confusing GMs around the league. The fact is nobody knows what to make of him at this point.
If Jameis Winston were to decide to take a lesser contact and be a backup for one season, there would be few better places than Pittsburgh to do so. Both he and Ben Roethlisberger have many similar traits. Any offense built around Roethlisberger is sure to suit Winston as well. Not to mention being around a winning culture like the one in Pittsburgh could do wonders for a player like this.
There’s no question Jameis Winston has the talent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The fact that he turns the ball over so frequently is the only reason why he is still on the market. It is not out of the realm of possibility he still might sign a big contract to be a starter somewhere in the NFL. The longer this goes on however, the less likely it gets. If Winston is forced to look at other options, he could do a lot worse than a backup job in Pittsburgh. What seemed highly unlikely at the beginning of the off-season, could actually become reality.