McMullen: Keep an Eye on Tampa This Summer
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - When it comes to the Eagles most of the reaction regarding the pending Jameis Winston suspension in Tampa has to do with the likelihood that the Super Bowl champions will avoid lining up against the former No. 1 overall pick in Week 2 of the upcoming season, that and the fact Philadelphia would probably like Ronald Darby to cut off that friendship for good.
There is another possibility, albeit a small one, and that's Nick Foles back on the trading block.
A number of dominos still need to fall most notably the Buccaneers deciding that it's time to move on from Winston, the talented but troubled former Florida State star who is going to be suspended three games for allegedly grabbing the crotch of an Uber driver in March of 2016.
While that might seem far-fetched now the #MeToo movement has changed things and already one Tampa-area columnist has taken a bite of the low-hanging fruit of groupthink by advocating for the Buccaneers to release Winston.
"What he's accused of doing is disgusting and reprehensible," wrote Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times. “...It's more than partying that got a little out of hand. We need to call it what it is: sexual assault. And this isn't the first time those awful two words have been associated with Winston."
Winston was also accused of rape while back at FSU and although potential criminal charges went nowhere the university itself paid a large settlement to the accuser in a civil case.
Jones believes "The Bucs should send a message to the community that they do not accept, condone or tolerate this kind of conduct — not from anybody but especially not from the starting quarterback and the face of the franchise. They should say that who they are and what they stand for as an organization mean more than winning football games at any cost, including at the cost of the franchise's integrity."
When the torches and pitchforks come out and there is no financial penalty for moving on, things can move quickly in the NFL. The Bucs picked up Winston's massive fifth-year option but that's guaranteed only for injury so the organization could easily cut bait and even get back some signing bonus money because of the suspension.
And remember the Bucs were a dismal 3-10 in games started by Winston last season so it's not like he's been knocking out of the park from a performance standpoint either.
From there the backups in Tampa are veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and the untested Ryan Griffin so if the Buccaneers decide they don't want Winston to be the face of the franchise any longer, they will be in the QB market in July and August where the supply is limited and the demand great.
In others words as unlikely as it seemed that another Sam Bradford-like situation could develop for Philadelphia again, it may be starting to unfold before our eyes.
And that first-round pick Howie Roseman wanted for Foles could be conjured up from desperation in Central Florida.
The reworked deal Foles signed this offseason makes this scenario more difficult as does the potential availability of someone like Teddy Bridgewater, who would be cheaper and cost less to acquire while bringing along a higher upside if healthy.
Stranger things have happened, though, and with Carson Wentz far ahead of schedule from a health standpoint, if the Bucs develop an interest in Foles the Eagles would be wise to listen.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why the Falcons are concerned about Julio Jones at GetMoreSports.com