After losing Dustin Keller to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, the New York Jets have finally addressed the tight end position, signing veteran Kellen Winslow to a one-year deal, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports.
Winslow joins a tight end group that has been headlined by Jeff Cumberland, who stepped up for an injured Keller to post career-highs with 29 receptions, 359 yards and three touchdowns last season. Behind Cumberland, the Jets had Konrad Reuland and Hayden Smith, an Australian-born rugby player who is still adjusting to American football, so depth at the position has been an issue.
If Winslow can stay healthy — and that's a mighty big "if" — he has a good chance of winning the starting job during training camp. A chronic knee injury has limited Winslow's ability to practice in recent seasons, which is something the Jets will have to monitor throughout his stay with the club.
Winslow, who will turn before reporting to Jets' training camp in July, has caught 438 passes for 4,848 and 23 touchdowns during his 93-game career with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. Winslow is coming off a disappointing 2012 season that began with him clashing with first-year Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. The Buccaneers traded Winslow to the Seattle Seahawks, but he would not make the 53-man roster as he was limited in practice and had just three reception for 34 yards in the preseason.
In September, the Patriots signed Winslow after losing Aaron Hernandez to a high ankle sprain. Winslow dressed for one game with the Patriots, catching one pass for 12 yards in four offensive snaps before he asked for and received his release. Winslow would sit out the remainder of the season and did not reappear on the NFL radar screen until he participated in the Jets' three-day minicamp on a tryout basis.
Winslow's signing does not come as a surprise. The team needed a veteran tight end and Jets GM John Idzik worked in the Seahawks' front office when Winslow was acquired last season. Reports out of New York were that Winslow looked good during the practices and his signing is a clear indicator that he passed the team's physical.
As the Jets wrapped up their offseason program on Thursday, Cumberland was making comparisons between himself and Winslow to Patriots tight ends Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end duo in the league.
"With my size and his size...I would be more like Gronkowski, he would be more like Hernandez," Cumberland said, via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News.
From a size standpoint, yes, the duos are comparable. From production and potential for production standpoints, it's not even close.
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