SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports & # 39; Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz takes a close look at teams like Cowboys, Vikings and Patriots and what their strategy will be on draft night.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw a way to sign Tom Brady, general manager Jason Licht did not hesitate.
The hiring of three-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL champion, however, meant that Jameis Winston's door was closed, the number one choice in 2015 and the team's five-year holder.
Despite the split, Licht does not see Winston's term as a failure.
"We have a lot of respect for Jameis. Jameis was still part of our plan if things went a different way," said Licht on Thursday, according to ESPN. "We have a lot of respect for him. I thought he did a lot of great things, and anyone in our office or building said the same thing. He did spectacular things for us. I would never say that personally. – and I think I speak for the organization. – that he is a failure. I think he has a bright future ahead of him ".
Winston, 26, led the NFL in past yards in 2019 with 5,109. But the product of the state of Florida has been plagued by turnovers throughout his career. The issue reached a boiling point last season, when Winston's 30 interceptions tied for the seventh highest number in a season in NFL history.
During the off-season, the Buccaneers remained little committed to Winston's future with the franchise, with coach Bruce Arians saying that at the end of the year the team could "definitely" win with another defender.
"We really had a chance to catch Tom Brady, and Tom Brady is an incredible player, and we are very excited about that," said Licht. "I am very confident that Jameis will have an opportunity. It is not the last time that you will hear Jameis."
Appearing on Fox News on Wednesday, Winston said he understood the decision.
"One thing you can learn about me is my faith," said Winston. "I have tremendous faith in the Lord. And one thing about Tom Brady is that he is GOAT (the best of all time). For you to be replaced by Tom Brady in a city you love so much, I think it’s congratulations to me .
"But at the end of the day, it is a competitive sport. We are all in business. I am excited about any opportunity (ahead) I may have."
Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.