Kellen Winslow’s had a productive yet underwhelming NFL career – in seven seasons (he missed the 2005 season due to a motorcycle accident) he’s set or tied tight end receiving records with the Browns and Bucs, made one Pro Browl (when Antonio Gates was injured) and labored through an assortment of injuries. Still, for a guy who was the 6th overall pick in 2004 – a draft known for three very good QBs going in the Top 11, one death (Sean Taylor) and multiple 1st round busts (Gallery, Reggie Williams, Lee Evans, Michael Clayton, etc) – Winslow isn’t considered an elite NFL tight end right now.
Winslow told Sirius NFL Radio this morning that after speaking with new Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, it doesn’t appear the former Miami Hurricane is in the team’s future plans. (Which is puzzling, because they have no tight end depth and Luke Stocker would be their starter.) Winslow is only 28, and he’ll definitely have options in a league that is increasingly starting to feature tight ends.
Which teams lack a tight end presence right now?
The Giants did coming into the offseason … but then they gobbled up Martellus Bennett from Dallas. The Cardinals, who already bolstered their offense by drafting Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd, could use an elite tight end (Todd Heap is 32 and his numbers have steadily declined). Do the Chargers need some more insurance for Antonio Gates? He turns 33 in June and has labored through injuries the last two seasons. Tony Gonzalez, amazingly, has missed just two games in his 15-year Hall of Fame career, but if you can get Winslow on the cheap to back him up, it’s worth a shot, right?
And yes, I’ll throw the Jets in here. They’ve got Dustin Keller for this year, but then he’s a free agent. They did just sign a rugby player and also have Jeff Cumberland, who looked sharp last preseason (before suffering a season-ending injury). I don’t see how acquiring Winslow and keeping four tight ends – Sparano favors two tight end sets, no? – could possibly hurt, especially with the potential of Keller walking after the season.