Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he cannot guarantee Jameis Winston will be the team’s starting quarterback once his three-game suspension is over.
Appearing on WFLA TV during the team’s preseason finale Thursday night, Licht disclosed the team could consider benching Winston if his replacement impresses in his absence.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say right now that he’s going to be the guy,” Licht said on the WFLA broadcast of the Bucs preseason game Thursday night, per ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine.
“[If] Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin, whoever it is, is playing lights out, I don’t think it’s fair right now just to say, ‘Yes, automatically, [Jameis] is going to be the guy,'” he added. “Now, he may be. Dirk and I—Dirk in particular—he’s got some time to think about that.”
Winston, who was handed a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after allegedly touching an Uber driver inappropriately in 2016, will miss games against the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to slide in under center and keep the offense afloat just as he did last season.
During that stretch, which included three starts, the Buccaneers went 2-1 as Fitzpatrick threw for 745 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.