Chargers: Why Jameis Winston could be the perfect replacement for Philip Rivers

Jameis Winston, Chargers
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Jameis Winston At A Glance

Winston’s ball security issues are well-known, with 88 interceptions and 111 total turnovers in five seasons.

Peyton Manning vs. Jameis Winston, first 5 seasons of career:

Manning (1998-2002): 20,618 passing yards; 138 TDs, 100 INTs, 62.1 Completion percentage.; 85.9 QB rating; 4.9 TD rate; 3.5 INT rate

Winston (2015-2019: 19,737 passing yards; 121 TDs, 88 INTs, 61.3 Completion percentage 86.9 QB rating; 4.7 TD rate; 3.5 INT rate

I’ll just leave that there. The primary differences are Manning got support from the running game very quickly, with Edgerrin James coming in via the fourth overall pick in 1999.

Winston is still only 26 years old, and he won’t turn 27 until next January. He has missed three games due to injury in his career (shoulder in 2017), with a three-game suspension and a back-and-forth carousel with Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2018 accounting for the rest of the missed games. So there are no real health or durability questions, unlike Newton does coming off a foot injury last year and and shoulder issue the year before. Newton is also nearly five years older, as he’ll turn 31 in May.

Winston followed a long-running template of quarterback who have thrown a lot of interceptions in their first year running Bruce Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” offense. That has also been followed by an eventual drop in interception total, within a season or two.

How Winston and the Chargers might fit together

Winston will surely get no more than a two-year deal at this point, and where he lands will determine how clear his opportunity to play will be in 2020. A path to start is available with the Chargers, and if it’s available for Newton (and it should be) it should also be available for Winston.

The Chargers have upgraded their offensive line, with a trade for guard Trai Turner and the singing of Bryan Bulaga. Running back Melvin Gordon left in free agency, but otherwise a top-end skill position group (Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams) remains in place.

The Chargers may use the sixth overall pick on one of the top quarterback prospects n this year’s draft, and they wouldn’t be wrong to do it. But Winston, if given the opportunity, could assert himself as the long-term answer under center for the Chargers. In a lot of ways, he’s less risky than an incoming rookie and Newton.