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INDIANAPOLIS — If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really have decided what to do with quarterback Jameis Winston — re-sign him, tag him or let him walk away — they aren’t saying.
Head coach Bruce Arians, one of more than 40 head coaches or GMs to speak to reporters Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, said no decision has been made.
The 2015 first-overall draft pick’s rookie contract expires in three weeks.
There could be several established QB starters available via free agency come March 18, the start of the new league year. The Los Angeles Chargers already have said they won’t bring back Philip Rivers. And Tom Brady (New England) and Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee) are set to become free agents, along with former starters such as Teddy Bridgewater (New Orleans) and Marcus Mariota (Tennessee).
What’s more, before March 18 Drew Brees is expected to re-sign with New Orleans, or be tagged by the club. Ditto with Dak Prescott in Dallas. But who knows?
Brady and Tannehill might actually choose to become free agents along with Rivers. It’s all a guessing game right now. For everybody.
“You really don’t know who’s available,” Buccaneers head coach Arians said. “So it’s a hard one to say all these quarterbacks are out there. I think maybe two or three will be out there.”
And so, as Arians asked reporters, if Winston is Door No. 1 for the Bucs at QB in 2020, “What is Door No. 2?”
Too soon to know, indeed.
When will the Bucs decide on Winston?
“When I know who else is available,” Arians said. “We should know a lot by next week.”
STAFFORD’S THEIR GUY, FOR SURE
Both GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia said reports and speculation that the Detroit Lions might trade veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford are 100% false, that the club is committed to him, and that Stafford has expressed the desire to remain in Motown. Disgruntled cornerback Darius Slay is another matter. Not only are all options on the table, Quinn said the team is “trying to explore a trade.”
CARR’S THEIR GUY, FOR NOW
Give Oakland — errrrrrr, Las Vegas — GM Mike Mayock credit. He’s honest about the Raiders’ quarterback situation. As he properly pointed out Tuesday, veteran Raiders starter Derek Carr really did have a strong season in 2019: 70.4% completions, 21 TDs, only eight picks and a strong 100.8 passer rating. Defensive, special-teams, red-zone and goal-line failures are what plagued the Raiders offence.
“I’m very happy with Derek Carr,” Mayock said. “But we will evaluate every position, every year. And if we can get better, we will.”
LOCK’S THEIR GUY, FOR NOW
Denver Broncos GM John Elway said Drew Lock, a rookie who missed the first half of the 2019 season, is his team’s No. 1 QB in 2020. But Elway qualified the remark.
“Right now there’s no question that Drew is the guy we’re looking to,” Elway said.
Right now. See the asterisk? This is a man, Elway, who exactly eight years ago at the combine said the same thing of Tim Tebow. Less than a month later Elway traded Tebow to the New York Jets after signing free agent Peyton Manning.
“Obviously we want to be able to improve as a football team, get (Lock) some weapons on the offensive side, but also do some things on the defensive side,” Elway said.
TRUBISKY’S …. THEIR GUY?
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace spoke mostly in staccato sentences in taking question after question on how the club views struggling QB Mitchell Trubisky, who has had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder this off-season, which ought not to impede the fourth-year player come May practices.
Why haven’t the Bears decided yet whether to exercise its fifth-year rookie option on Trubisky? Other than the fact he hasn’t earned it?
“Yeah, for us that decision isn’t triggered until May, so our focus is on free agency and the combine,” Pace said.
What factors will go into that decision?
“Everything’s internal … We’ll make that decision in May.”
But won’t the wait foment even more doubt in the team’s faith in Trubisky?
“I don’t think it’s uncommon,” Pace said. “And those are things we’ll just keep inside and internal with us.”
But is the team still committed to Trubisky as ‘the guy’ at quarterback in 2020?
“To be clear, yes it is. We believe in Mitch,” Pace said. “Mitch knows he needs to be better. We need to be better around him. That’s our goal.”
TAKE THE PAIN
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, ranked No. 4 at his position by NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks, was asked a lot about the 17 interceptions he threw as a senior.
By the end of his session was he tired of those questions? Love shrugged, and said, “If I don’t want to talk about it, don’t throw 17 interceptions next time.”
SURE HE DOESN’T
New New York Giants head coach Joe Judge said no player has a guaranteed roster spot, not even last year’s first-round quarterback pick Daniel Jones.
Bet all your players will buy that one come reporting time in April.
How has head coach Andy Reid’s life changed since his Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl earlier this month? Not much, he said: “I have gotten a couple free meals. That was nice.”
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan on the Super Bowl loss to K.C.: “I can deal with it. Nobody died. It is disappointing. We do have to grieve it. But I’m doing a lot better now than I was three weeks ago, and I plan on doing better three weeks from now. Our team is made of the right stuff.”
JET FOR LIFE
There are worse things, I suppose, to saddle a person with. New York Jets GM Joe Douglas said he wants star safety Jamal Adams “to be a Jet for life.” Lucky Jamal.
“We’ve had some preliminary talks with his agent — not going to get into the specifics of that but … the plan is for Jamal to be here a long time.”
Douglas said “there hasn’t been talk” about trading running back Le’Veon Bell, despite persistent belief head coach Adam Gase and first-year GM Douglas don’t want Bell around.
The Lions finally made it official and cut run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon (Snacks) Harrison. The 31-year-old hinted at retiring following the season … The Chiefs want to re-sign DT Chris Jones and DE Frank Clark, GM Brett Veach said. “It’s a challenge but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” Veach said … The Los Angeles Rams have “no timeline” on extending Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, GM Les Snead said.
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