Buccaneers pick up Winston's fifth-year option

Quarterback Jameis Winston will remain in Tampa Bay for at least two more years. The Buccaneers picked up Winston's $20.922 million fifth-year option and are reportedly ready to begin working on a bigger deal with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

The option covers the 2019 season, meaning Winston would become a free agent in March 2020. But the Buccaneers are making it clear there is no intention to let Winston out of Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times first reported the team would pick up the fifth-year option on Tuesday.

Last season was an adventure for Winston due to a shoulder injury, and an ongoing NFL investigation into allegations by an Uber driver casts a morsel of doubt on where the two sides might go from here.

See the quarterback through his career:

However, Winston said this week he has not been interviewed by the NFL, and general manager Jason Licht has pledged support for the fourth-year quarterback publicly.

Licht pointed to the team's plans to open long-term contract talks during the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. As salaries at the position climb, Winston's fifth-year option salary -- fully guaranteed for injury -- is under the going rate for "franchise" quarterbacks.

As the top pick in 2015, Winston signed a rookie four-year deal worth $25.35 million in May 2015.

Winston, 24, has 69 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in his career.

--Field Level Media