That said, sources say the Bucs might hold off installing Winston as the starter when he returns from suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy in Week 4. With a short week after playing on Monday night in Week 3, Ryan Fitzpatrick could remain the starter for at least another week.
Both Winston and Tampa Bay are committed to doing what's in the best interest of the team. If that means riding the hot hand, that will be OK. Winston has told the team as much, while also noting that he expected Fitz to play well.
Fitz does have it working, which might give the Bucs a luxury. They can have him start as long as he's firing on all cylinders. That might give Winston time to work himself back into the flow, ready to step in if Fitzpatrick falters.
One thing that won't factor into play is Winston's $20.9 million fifth-year option for 2019 that is guaranteed for injury, sources say. This won't be like it was for the Redskins and Robert Griffin III, when they kept him on the shelf to avoid injury and get out from under the salary. Winston is expected to return to the lineup.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht made some headlines earlier in the offseason by saying there wasn't a guarantee Winston would get his job back immediately. The reality is, throughout his career, Fitzpatrick has often flashed, then reverted back.
Fitzpatrick playing well is a good problem to have. And if he falters -- whether in week 4 or 7 -- Winston will be ready.