No one expects Jameis Winston to remain in college football for too much longer seeing as there are millions of dollars awaiting him in the NFL or Major League Baseball. All of the money, all of the risk, and all of the logic suggest the best choice for Winston is to leave college as soon as he can and take the money. Everyone is on board with this idea.
Everyone except for Jameis Winston, it appears.
Winston told NFL.com he intends to stay at Florida State for at least two more seasons, and wants to complete his degree before leaving for the NFL. Here’s what he told NFL.com:
“It’s very important to me. I was always raised as a student first and an athlete second,” Winston said. “I think that’s the main purpose in college. Some athletes lose that perspective. It’s about being a student-athlete, and not just getting that easy money and going to the league. Even if kids leave early, I would want them to come back and get that degree.”
Taking a college kid at his word in July wouldn’t be the wisest decision ever but there may be something to this Winston staying in school another year thing. Most of this would revolve around the leverage he could create by using his baseball abilities and draft stock.
When it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, fit means almost as much as skill. What type of offense does the team run? What is the roster outlook like? Who comprises the front office? Who is the head coach? What is the motivation of the owner? All of these things come into play when it comes to quarterback and team success.
This is part of the reason why players like John Elway and Eli Manning took action to be aggressive about what teams they would and would not sign with if they were drafted. Elway used his baseball leverage to force the Colts to trade his rights to the Denver Broncos. Manning used his name to get San Diego to trade him to the New York Giants. In the end it worked out for both quarterbacks.
Maybe there is an element to trying to dictate where Winston plays in this statement. Use education as the public reason but the private reason is to build his baseball stock high enough to help leverage who drafts him when he does leave Florida State.
It may also be a ploy to give him a reason to stay in college another year if a team like the Buffalo Bills or Oakland Raiders end up with the first overall pick. At least then he has created a narrative where he can stay in college and no one would be surprised by it.
It is an interesting case Winston is building to stay in college, however I doubt he’s still at Florida State one year from now.