According to Rapoport, Winston underwent offseason surgery to trim his meniscus.
Rapoport notes that with the Buccaneers expected to franchise DE Shaq Barrett, Winston could be free to test the open market in the coming weeks.
Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht spoke at length about Winston and his status with the team at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier in the week.
Asked if Winston was Tampa Bay’s quarterback going forward, per the Athletic’s Greg Auman, Arians responded: “He could be.”
Arians admitted he was disappointed in how Winston finished the season, with 10 interceptions in the final month of the season.
“December wasn’t what I wanted to see,” Arians said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
Arians pointed out there could be quarterbacks available this offseason who would be considered upgrades from Winston. He specifically mentioned Patriots QB Tom Brady and Chargers QB Philip Rivers, per Auman.
Arians told reporters the team knows what it’s doing but hasn’t told Winston yet. While they are still exploring other options, Arians does believe they can have success with Winston if they end up bringing him back.
“We’re not saying we don’t want Jameis,” he said. “But we’re at a point where we can look behind door two, three and four.”
Winston, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Buccaneers back in 2015. He’s set to make a base salary of $20.922 million for the 2019 season under his fifth-year option.
Winston is in line to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NFL career in 2020.
In 2019, Winston appeared in all 16 games for the Buccaneers and completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions while rushing for 250 yards and one touchdown.
We have him included in our Top 100 – 2020 Free Agents list.