The off-season priority for Bruce Arians is to keep the best free defensive agents, not the Buccaneers QB


TAMPA, Florida - While the status of former top pick overall Jameis Winston remains one of the Buccaneers' biggest stories this offseason, coach Bruce Arians said his defense priority, especially the re-signing of linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks this season." Oh yeah. To me, that’s all the defense, "Arians said after speaking at the NFL Coaches Academy. "You can't get them all, but we have to have ... this team right now, the last eight games, our defensive stats were ... these young guys have grown up. We cannot let go. I don't care who my quarterback is. We must have a defense. "

Winston is expected to become an unrestricted free agent after five years with the club. The team can sign it at any time but has not done so.

In addition to Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, Ndamukong Suh, Beau Allen and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all ready to become free agents.

Barrett is optimistic about his stay in Tampa.

"I don't know if it's going to happen before [March] but I like this confidence [coach Bruce Arians] gave me. I'm just ready to do it and ready to start building my life in Tampa and be there for the long haul, "he said last month in Orlando, Florida, at the Pro Bowl.

The Arians declined to comment on Winston's decision to have LASIK eye surgery recently, despite discussions about Winston's myopia at the end of the season.

"I'm not talking about guys' personal affairs," said Arians.

A source close to the situation told ESPN that the choice was Winston's and was not made at the insistence of the team.

When asked if he felt closer to having more clarity about his quarterback situation, the Arians replied, "No, because you don't know who is available. Are you just sitting and waiting to see that there is someone available? And is there a better option?

" This is the problem. You have about three days to decide - legal forgery [period]. Is someone else going to let go? What are the commercial values? It's really dull right now because you don't really have the answers. "


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