The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a decision to make at quarterback this offseason. Do they stay with Jameis Winston and continue hoping that his talent eventually manifests, or do they go in a different direction with Philip Rivers?
Many feel that the Buccaneers should move on from Winston, who has been in the NFL for five years but is still making the same mistakes he made during his rookie campaign.
As a result, Philip Rivers has emerged as a potential candidate to take over under center, as he, like Winston, is set to be a free agent this March, and the Los Angeles Chargers don’t appear to be all that headstrong on bringing him back
So let’s say the Chargers do elect to let Rivers walk. Would he really be a better option than Winston for the Buccaneers?
Well, if we are basing this on the way he played in 2019, the answer is no.
While Rivers didn’t turn the ball over quite as much as Winston, he did throw 20 interceptions as opposed to just 23 touchdowns, so this was definitely a down year for the 16-year veteran.
And we can’t be so sure that Rivers will bounce back in 2020, either, as he is 38 years old. Just ask Eli Manning what typically happens once you get to that age.
Also, it’s questionable as to whether or not the Bucs are really ready to win now.
Yes, they have a fine offensive line. Yes, they have a terrific receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. But their running game is suspect, and they have some key free agents on defense—namely Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul—that they may not be able to re-sign.
So would it be wise for a team building for the future to bring in a 38-year-old to play quarterback, especially when that 38-year-old just led what was supposed to be a Super Bowl-contending Chargers squad to five wins?
Keep in mind that I’m not necessarily advocating for the Buccaneers to choose Winston over Rivers; I’m just saying that if Tampa Bay is going to let Winston go, I’m not sure Rivers is the answer.
Remember: this upcoming draft class is pretty deep at quarterback, so even though the Bucs don’t pick until 14th, there may still be a signal-caller or two on the board at that spot that the Buccaneers can roll with.
Tampa Bay is a team that has always struggled to find a quarterback. Even in its Super Bowl year back during the 2002-03 campaign, Brad Johnson was calling the shots.
Since then, the Bucs have tried to patch that hole with guys like Bruce Gradkowski, Jeff Garcia and Josh McCown. While Rivers isn’t nearly on the same level as those journeymen, signing Rivers to replace Winston would represent just another example of the Buccaneers, a club that has not made the playoffs since the 2007-08 campaign, trying to find a stopgap.
It’s time for the Buccaneers to find a franchise quarterback, and at this stage of his career, Philip Rivers just isn’t it.