The NFL world began descending on Mobile, Ala., today for the start of Senior Bowl week marking the beginning of the league’s offseason cycle.
The annual event provides coaches, decision-makers, and media the opportunity to see, speak with, and evaluate some of college football’s top draft-eligible talents. It also is when rumors really begin to swirl regarding the future plans of NFL teams.
As the temperature is dropping, the buzz around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their plans at quarterback are surely heating up.
Pro Football Network’s NFL Insider Benjamin Albright is reportedly hearing “an increasing amount of chatter” regarding Tampa Bay and Philip Rivers should he become available as widely expected in league circles. Albright is also reporting the team is showing a “good amount of interest” in Washington Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason.
Piecing the two reports together illustrates a potential plan (backup plan?) to acquire the 16-year veteran to be used as a bridge to Eason (or another rookie) once he has had some time to develop.
The rumors could be interpreted as an impasse in talks with Jameis Winston, whose five-year rookie contract is set to expire at the beginning of the new league year in March. The team could even be looking to move on entirely.
It is also entirely possible this is simply a tactic by the team to gain leverage in contract negotiations with Winston in an effort to drive down his asking price.
We have certainly seen head coach Bruce Arians negotiate with players via the media before both directly and indirectly. This was the case during the 2019 offseason with six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. As many may recall, that saga did not end amicably.
Are Arians and the Buccaneers headed for a similar divorce with Winston? Buckle up, Bucs fans. It looks like we have another wild offseason ahead of us.