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Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to bring back Jameis Winston as starting QB for 2019

Even after a season where he got benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick multiple times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still plan on making Jameis Winston their starting quarterback in 2019, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Tampa Bay drafted Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, and the 24-year-old is due $20 million dollars next year on his fifth-year option. At the end of next season, the Bucs can decide to re-sign Winston, franchise tag him, or let him walk.

The best record that the Bucs have had in a season lead by Winston was his 2016 sophomore season when they went 9-7. As of Week 16 of this season, Winston has thrown 84 touchdowns to 57 interceptions and has a career completion percentage of 61.5 percent.

Winston missed the first three games of this season after the NFL suspended him for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming from an incident where he allegedly groped a female Uber driver. He returned for game four, but didn’t start as Tampa decided to ride Fitzpatrick’s hot hand. Winston was named the starter in Week 5, but in Week 8, Winston was pulled for Fitzpatrick. Winston reclaimed the starting job for the rest of the season in Week 11.

Winston enters Sunday’s season finale against Atlanta with 2,647 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 10 games and eight starts this season.

Tampa’s decision to keep Winston comes despite other off the field concerns. At Florida State, Winston was accused of sexual assault in 2013. He was cleared of violating the student code of conduct and settled the civil case brought by his accuser out of court. In 2014, Winston was caught on camera shoplifting crab legs from a Publix grocery store and was ordered to do 20 hours of community service. Later that year Winston was suspended for a game against Clemson for shouting a sexually explicit internet meme while standing atop a table in Florida State’s student union building.