Jameis Winston to the Steelers? Not Likely, but a Possibility

CBS Sports

By CJ Lester

During this free agency period and the past several seasons, one question every Pittsburgh Steelers fan has had in the back of their minds; who will be the successor to QB Ben Roethlisberger? Chris Simms, NFL Analyst for Sunday Night Football on NBC, actually predicted that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston will sign with the Steelers!

Former Steelers QB Bruce Gradkowski said on 93.7 The Fan, “For Jameis Winston, I think the Steelers would be a great spot for him.” This also seems to be a very polarizing topic for Steeler Nation. I have scrolled through a variety of social media and spoken with fellow Steelers fans who either really love the idea or despise it. First off, is either QB Mason Rudolph or QB Devlin “Duck” Hodges better than Winston? From what we have seen in limited playing time and at this very moment, the answer to the prior question is no. Sure, Rudolph showed a little promise, but based on the eye test of talent alone, Winston blows him out of the water! Hodges was serviceable in the time that we needed him, but he never showed enough to think that he might be Ben’s successor. Frankly, he had no pocket presence at all. Our offensive line had their struggles as well, but Hodges just held on to the ball too long at times. Why don’t we just take a look at the numbers?


Player A: Appeared in 16 Games

Completion Percentage: 60.7%

Attempts per game: 39.1

TD/Interception Ratio: 33/30

Yards/Yards per attempt:


Player B: Appeared in 8 Games

Completion Percentage: 62.5%

Attempts per game: 20

TD/Interception Ratio: 5/8

Yards/Yards per attempt:


Player C: Appeared in 10 Games

Completion Percentage: 62.2%

Attempts per game: 28.3

TD/Interception Ratio: 13/9

Yards/Yards per attempt:



Looking at those numbers, it is obvious that without in depth knowledge, any common fan can pick Jameis Winston out of the bunch. He is obviously Player A. It is a little harder for the common fan to dissect players B and C to determine who is Rudolph and who is Hodges. Don’t you agree? These numbers are skewed just because of the simple fact that he started all 16 games, whereas the other two quarterbacks did not. Even with doing the math to figure out what the stats of player B and player C would be in a full 16 game schedule while also performing at the same rate as they performed in the above amount of games. The numbers still do not compare to Winston’s!

Player B’s projected stats through 16 games

TD/Interception Ratio: 10/16

Yards: 2,126 yards

Player C’s projected stats through 16 games

TD/Interception Ratio: 21/15

Yards: 2,868 yards


Even if we combine numbers of both players, these stats still do NOT compare to Winston’s and they combine for 32 games compared to Winston’s 16. Absolutely, you are right, there are a lot of factors that can be thrown into this argument like health of star players on offense (Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner), the offense being ran, experience, etc. By the way, player B is Devlin Hodges and player C is Mason Rudolph, but a quick Google search could’ve figured that out.  Numbers do not lie and it can be as simple as that. Jameis Winston is a high risk/high reward type of player that just had eye surgery that should help with his obvious field vision issues (i.e. his interceptions).


I would never lie to a reader, I was hellbent against the thought of looking at Winston as a backup option and possible Roethlisberger successor. However, researching further while writing this article has changed my mind. The team would be taking a chance, but the talent is obviously there for Winston. Even if there is an actual possibility of the Steelers looking to sign him, there would still be roadblocks in approaching the scenario. Would he be okay sitting behind Ben for a year? The quarterback does not lack confidence and knows he is capable of starter level play. With the confidence of being able to perform as a starter comes the confidence in being paid as a starter. Another roadblock, the Steelers don’t have the amount of cap space that would most likely be required to sign him. Although, the way the quarterback market is framing out, there is more supply than demand. With the lack of rumors swirling around, it seems as if Winston may end up having to take less money and play a backup role for the time being. I guess we will see how it plays out. If he ends up having to sign a deal that a backup quarterback would be offered, the Steelers probably should take a look at Winston. I know it sounds like an unlikely scenario, but if the Steelers could get him to sign for $7-$9 million annually, he would be an immediate upgrade to the backup quarterback position in Pittsburgh. GM Kevin Colbert and HC Mike Tomlin seem confident with the quarterbacks already on the roster and the salary cap space could be used to fill other holes on the roster, but you never know what trick Colbert has up his sleeve. Check out the video below, at the 26:00 mark, to hear what Chris Simms and Phil Simms had to say on the topic!


As a few NFL Analysts already have, would you entertain the thought of bringing in QB Jameis Winston as a backup and possible successor to Ben Roethlisberger? Would it be a good move or a “head scratcher?” Let us know in the comments below!



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