That Jameis Winston to the Steelers “rumor” just won’t die.
I put the word rumor in quotes because there never really have been any hot rumors that Winston, formally of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who decided that the soon-to-be 43-year old Tom Brady was their VERY immediate future at quarterback, is coming to Pittsburgh.
Just a bunch of speculation. Actually, forget rumors and speculation, it feels like the football world is more akin to a good matchmaking friend that thinks Winston and the Steelers would just be perfect together and won’t shut up until the two of them agree to a date.
Even Peter King, the king of all football writers (no offense to Dave Schofield), said the Steelers would be the “best place” for Wintson as a backup who is willing to be a “starter-in-waiting” (my words, not his) in his Monday Morning in America column on, well, Monday. But starter-in-waiting behind Ben Roethlisberger does mean the same thing as “successor,” which King does say Winston, 26, could be in his article.
King also says he doesn’t think there’s much of a chance of it happening.
Of course there isn’t.
Why would there be? Yes, I know Winston led the league in interceptions last year with 30, but he also led the NFL in passing yards with 5,109.
Winston also earned nearly $21 million in 2019 according to Spotrac.com.
I’m guessing he’s going to want close to that kind of money again in 2020. Will he get it? Doubtful at this point, but he’s unlikely to settle for less than $10 million. Would the Steelers be willing to pay that much for a backup quarterback/starter-in-waiting?
I doubt it, and even if they would, why would Winston want to settle for that role in Pittsburgh? Because the starting jobs have dried up? Maybe. But, again, he earned nearly $21 million last year, which means he has a lot of “bleep you” money in the bank. And that might persuade him to sit back and wait for someone to get hurt—someone always gets hurt. And if that happens, there might be an opportunity for the 2015 number one overall pick from Florida State to swoop in and save the day and become some desperate team’s starter, while also earning a huge paycheck.
Look, I get it, the possibility is intriguing. You have a big, athletic quarterback just sitting out there—a player whose pedigree couldn’t be greater. Winston is someone who looks so much like a younger version of Ben Roethlisberger, a 16-year veteran who is still not out of the woods as it pertains to his surgically repaired 38-year old elbow.
Maybe you don’t get it. Maybe you think Winston is garbage (to use a popular way to describe an athlete on social media). Perhaps you think Mason Rudolph, the 2018 third-round pick with a first-round grade (at least by the Steelers), is a better option to be Roethlisberger’s backup/starter-in-waiting.
Crazy? Maybe, but, hey, that’s what Pittsburgh believes. In fact, Art Rooney II, the guy who is responsible for paying quarterbacks and other people who work for the Steelers, said that months ago.
Could he change his mind? Could head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert persuade him to bring Winston in for a meeting/interview/workout? It seems unlikely that there would even be any persuading, especially after Tomlin went on national television recently and rather aggressively and pointedly defended Rudolph after Browns defensive end Myles Garrett doubled-down on his racial slur allegation from last November and the infamous brawl in Cleveland.
Speaking of Tomlin, what does he usually say about paint? If you have red paint, you paint the barn red. If you have yellow paint, you paint the barn yellow. If you have blue paint....you get the drift.
As it pertains to Mason Rudolph, it would appear that Tomlin and all the other important decision makers over on the South Side of Pittsburgh feel that he is a perfectly acceptable paint for barns and other such surfaces if the first coat starts to fade.
Maybe instead of wishing oh so hard for Jameis Winston to become a reality, we should just take the Steelers for their word.