What are the advantages and disadvantages of the New England Patriots adding Jameis Winston at quarterback if Tom Brady leaves in free agency?
The top priority for the New England Patriots heading into the final 10 days before NFL free agency officially begins is still signing longtime quarterback Tom Brady.
It would be foolish for the team to look elsewhere in free agency or through trades to try and find an available quarterback who’d represent an upgrade over Brady for the 2020 season — it doesn’t exist.
That said, the Patriots also need to be prepared for the growing possibility that they could be heaved toward divorce with the G.O.A.T. Whether or not the two sides are actually waiting to see if the new CBA gets ratified, it’s getting awfully down to the wire here as far as negotiations are concerned. The longer it takes to get a deal done, the worse it looks that a deal will eventually get done at all.
If Brady ends up signing with another franchise this spring, who could the Patriots turn to as his replacement?
Some might suggest incumbent second-year player Jarrett Stidham. Stidham is still largely unproven, but one would think that even if the Pats have him (or someone else from this year’s draft) in mind for their long-term replacement, they’ll still need to add a veteran arm at least for the sake of insurance.
That arm could be one of several different options. This free agent/trade quarterback class is the deepest it’s been in years, and there are plenty of intriguing possibilities — again, with the caveat that none of them represent anywhere close to as much polish, talent, and expertise as Brady.
One such possibility is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
Taken No. 1 overall back in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston epitomizes the cliche of the up-and-down, rollercoaster experience of a maddeningly-inconsistent passer.
On the one hand, he remains immensely talented, he has a terrific arm, and he’s fairly durable considering the high number of hits he’s taken over his career.
On the other hand, he’s arguably the most turnover-prone starting quarterback in the NFL today. He threw 30 interceptions last season against 33 touchdowns. That kind of level of poor decision-making essentially put the world’s biggest damper on the fact that he also led the league in passing yards in 2019 with 5,109 yards.
Perhaps most concerning of all with Winston is that last season was supposed to be the year he put it all together. After shuffling through various head coaches, offensive coordinators, and other mentors through the first four years of his professional career, he finally found himself paired with a proven maestro in Bruce Arians.
Many predicted a career year for Winston. And in terms of passing yards and passing offense, he delivered.
But the interceptions are just too hard to overlook. To top it off, Winston also fumbled nine times throughout the year. He now has 88 career interceptions and 31 career fumbles against 121 career touchdowns … those kind of stats aren’t going to fly with a head coach like Bill Belichick who prioritizes holding onto the football on offense above pretty much everything else.
Stranger things have happened, but to summarize, we just don’t see this marriage working between Winston and the Patriots — even hypothetically speaking. No matter how much talent and upside the 26-year-old might still possess, he’s too careless with the football for Belichick or New England to really even seriously consider him as an option if Brady leaves.