During an interview with NFL Radio on Monday morning, tight end Kellen Winslow claimed his current team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stated they were looking to trade him. He explained that the Bucs told him his services were no longer needed. Winslow continued to describe the main reason for this decision was because he did not participate in offseason workouts with the team. Apparently new head coach Greg Schiano is running a tight ship down in Tampa….But as the saying goes, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. If Winslow is telling the truth, will the Dolphins try to pursue him?
Winslow is an eight year veteran who spent the first four years with the Cleveland Browns, before playing his last three with the Bucs. At 6’4 and 240 pounds, he is very athletic with great hands and is a quarterback’s favorite target. During his time with Tampa, he caught 218 balls for 2,377 yards and 12 touchdowns.
For a quick comparison, Dolphin’s current starting TE Anthony Fasano recorded 102 catches for 1,318 yards and 11 touchdowns in the last three years. And yes, I am aware that Fasano missed four games during that period when Winslow didn’t miss any. Regardless, it is hard to argue that Fasano is the better weapon on offense compared to Winslow. Furthermore, if Winslow is acquired by Miami, it would surely put an end to Fasano’s tenure as a Dolphin because they clearly can’t afford both, considering Fasano is due $4.45 million this upcoming season.
Sure, stats are great and we all know the potential and athleticism of Winslow. But, the Dolphins have a game plan and they appear to be sticking to it. In this year’s draft, Miami invested their third round pick on TE Michael Egnew from Missouri. At almost 6’6” and 252 pounds, the Dolphins are in love with Egnew’s size, speed, athleticism, and ability to catch the football. Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman have high hopes for him in this new West Coast Offense and they will be utilizing his skills in redzone situations. Besides, Egnew’s rookie salary will be about one-fourth the price of Winslow’s.
In addition to Fasano and Egnew, the Dolphins also think very highly of last year’s rookie Charles Clay, who is considered a hybrid type tight end. Clay played sparingly in 14 games, but did manage to catch three touchdowns. During this offseason, the coaching staff has mentioned on a few occasions that they plan to get him more involved in the offense in 2012.
Finally, let’s all not forget about our modern day Vince Papale in Les Brown. Remember, he was the basketball player who has spent the last two years working in an accounting department. Although Brown never played college football, he turned heads and dropped jaws impressing NFL scouts during BYU’s Pro Day. At 6’4” and 238 pounds, he ran a 4.44 forty and recorded a 39 inch vertical jump. The Dolphins were impressed and signed him with the intentions of transforming him into a tight end.
In my opinion, I don’t think the Dolphins will try to pursue Kellen Winslow. His services will be costly to the already tight salary cap and it could require trading draft picks as well. With the high hopes and potential from youngsters Egnew and Clay, Miami appears to already have the ingredients to the pie. Now, they just need to give it some time to bake.
Regardless of my opinion or any other media-based point of view, the decision to pursue Winslow will rest solely in the hands of GM Jeff Ireland. Over the last four years, he has not been shy about making surprising personnel moves and has frequently turned over the roster. He loves to turn over rocks, looking for players that will improve this team. In a recent interview during “FinsWeekend,” Ireland said “I’m always looking. You never know what might fall off a tree.” Well, it looks like a huge acorn just landed in front of him. Will Ireland pick it up?