On the Seahawks' deal for Kellen Winslow
May, 21, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
The Seattle Seahawks have added two tight ends over the past 10 months with Pro Bowls on their resumes.
Neither move appeared to be a high priority at the time. Both have the potential to make the team better.
Zach Miller, signed in free agency from Oakland as training camps were beginning last summer, has company at the position after Seattle acquired Kellen Winslow from Tampa Bay in a trade Monday night.
Winslow's salary seemed like the biggest potential obstacle to him joining Seattle. The marriage otherwise seemed to make sense given that Seattle had not moved to replace John Carlson, who signed with Minnesota in free agency. We can now rule out Visanthe Shiancoe, 32, as a free-agent option for Seattle.
Winslow, the sixth player chosen in the 2004 draft, is an upgrade over Carlson from a talent standpoint. Questions about Winslow's knees and attitude have persisted over the years, but Winslow hasn't missed a game over the last three seasons. He hasn't incurred the off-field issues that marked the early portion of his career.
Tampa Bay is starting over under a new coaching staff. Winslow didn't fit into the new program. Seattle is two-plus years into coach Pete Carroll's tenure with the team. The Seahawks have twice gone 7-9. Now, with quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson newly aboard, Seattle is looking to take the next step.
Winslow finished last season with 75 receptions. He has reached at least 75 receptions four times in the last six seasons. No tight end in Seahawks history has approached that total for a season. That was supposed to change with Miller's addition last season, but he mostly made his mark as a blocker.
The Seahawks said they sent a 2013 conditional draft choice to Tampa Bay for Winslow. The team does have ample cap room to absorb the $4.8 million salary, should it remain in place. The conditional choice is a seventh-rounder that can upgrade to a sixth-rounder.
"He is too fast and athletic for linebackers to cover and too big for defensive backs to match up against," the Scouts Inc. report on Winslow reads in part. "He has a wide receiving radius with soft, sure hands that allow him to make tough catches. He is a willing and physical blocker but lacks the size and strength to do much more than get in the way when blocking inside."
Update: I initially misread Pat Yasinskas' item on Winslow's salary. Parting with Winslow saves the Bucs' $4.8 million. That is not necessarily what he'll cost Seattle against the cap. Winslow was scheduled to earn $3.3 million in base salary. He has a $550,000 roster bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus.