Carolina Panthers: Five free-agent quarterbacks the team could target

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Jameis Winston

After leading the league in yards and finishing second in touchdowns in 2019, there’s a lot to like about Jameis Winston. Now add in the fact that he also threw 30 interceptions this year, and there becomes a lot to not like about him. In fact, this past season Winston became the first player to ever pass for 30 touchdowns and throw 30 picks in the same year. Since being taken first overall in the 2015 draft, Winston has been the most wildly inconsistent quarterback in the league, and it hasn’t been close.

When watching him on tape, it’s impossible to deny the natural talent he possesses. He has a live arm and can make any throw anywhere on the field. The problem, though, is that he makes bad decisions far too often. As a result, he has thrown multiple interceptions in 25 of the 72 games he has played in the NFL, with nearly 4% of his passes having been picked off. On top of that, he has lost 23 fumbles, bringing him to a total of 111 turnovers through his first five years in the league. Failure to limit those costly turnovers will likely lead to his departure from Tampa Bay this offseason, and has overshadowed the good things he has done during his time there.

Aside from him being extremely turnover-prone, Winston is actually an exciting player to watch. As mentioned above, he has loads of arm talent, which makes him an intriguing free-agent target. He isn’t afraid to throw the home-run ball, nor does he back down from throwing into tight windows. That being said, teaching the 26-year-old to make better decisions could be the difference in him continuing to be an overly aggressive turnover machine and him becoming one of the league’s most lethal passers. Because of that, a potential Winston signing would have to be a carefully weighed decision based on whether or not the coaching staff believes they can maximize his potential while limiting his mistakes. Off-field questions could also affect where Winston signs this offseason.