Buccaneers' GM: Jameis Winston "will be here next year"

Jameis Winston watches from the sideline during the fourth quarter after being benched in the third quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 28, 2018. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We may not know who will be coaching the Buccaneers in 2019, but we do know one thing: Jameis Winston will be the quarterback, according to the team’s general manager.

The Bucs fired head coach Dirk Koetter last night after his second-straight 5-11 season. Because Koetter – the team’s former offensive coordinator – was hired to help Winston develop, many fans wondered if the former Heisman Trophy winner would be next to go.

Jason Licht answered that question Monday at his first public appearance since Koetter’s firing.
“Jameis will be here next year,” Licht insisted.

In three years as the Bucs’ head coach, Koetter led the team to a 19-29 record. Licht said the Glazer family decided to let him go after a “disappointing” season.

“He is a good coach, and if Dirk ends up continuing his career, another organization is going to be lucky to have him,” Licht offered. “But ultimately, the results – the wins – just weren’t there.”  

Winston, meanwhile, improved late in the season after a rocky start that followed a four-game suspension.  Licht said the team would be hiring someone from the outside, but he did not think it would be an issue finding quality coaching candidates who would accept Winston as part of the deal.

The top pick from the 2015 draft is due to earn $20.92 million next season in the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie.

“We have a young, core group of talented players…We’ve got a young quarterback. There’s a lot of things to like.  Based on texts and people reaching out to me that are interested in the job, I can tell you that it is an attractive job.”

Licht also acknowledged his role in this season, adding that he was “grateful” he’s still around to make the next hire.

“Right now, I don’t want to play the hindsight game, but I’ve got to do a better job. It lies on me,” he added. “I’ve got to do a better job of the overall management of the football team, and I make no bones about it.”