Seahawks trade for Kellen Winslow; hope to make 2-TE sets more productive

Doug Farrar

In 2011, per the game-charting of's Brian McIntyre, the Seattle Seahawks put two tight ends on the field 39 percent of the time, one of the highest figures in the NFL. However, they didn't get much production from those tight ends. Former Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller, acquired as a free agent before the 2011 season, caught just 25 passes on 44 targets for 233 yards and no touchdowns -- Seattle's injury-weakened offensive line put Miller in a position to block most of the time. Despite that, Miller led the team in all categories at the position.

On Monday evening, the Seahawks endeavored to become more productive with the 2-TE sets they prefer by trading for ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow. For assuming Winslow's contract, the Seahawks gave up just a seventh-round draft pick in 2013 (conditional sixth if Winslow meets certain performance guidelines). Winslow has three years left in a six-year, $36.1 million contract he signed in 2009, but the $3.3 million he's due this season in base salary is not guaranteed.

The eight-year veteran was deemed expendable by new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano after missing a recent round of OTAs, and it was Winslow himself who revealed the news -- last Saturday, Schiano told him that the Bucs were looking to make a deal and get him out of there. In his place, the Bucs signed former Indianapolis Colts TE Dallas Clark to a one-year deal.

[Related: Trading Kellen Winslow could be risky for the Buccaneers]

"It's kind of shocking, but that's what it is," Winslow told Ross Tucker of SIRIUS NFL Radio on Monday morning. " [Schiano] said he was upset that I wasn't working out with the team in the offseason, and then, the first week of OTAs. But, look -- I've been there the last three years, and I've had a successful career so far, and you just don't get rid of one of your best players because of that. That's just what I was told, but I have nothing bad to say about coach Schiano -- it was just a disagreement on why I'm not there yet. I was training in San Diego, and I was going to start [in OTAs with the team] today, but I got the call on Saturday that they're looking for somebody else."

Winslow was especially surprised, given his claim that he has participated in a team event before in this preseason. "There was a previous minicamp -- I went to that. It was a three-day minicamp and then, I came back down to San Diego to train, and I was going to start [back with the team] today."

According to Winslow, he flew cross-country from San Diego to Tampa to hear that he was going to be gone. "They tried to catch me before I left, but that didn't work out."

[Related: Detroit Lions bar own player from practice after fight with teammate]

In Seattle, there is room for a player as productive as Winslow has been in the recent past. Drafted sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2004 NFL draft, Winslow most recently averaged 72.6 catches, 792.3 yards and four touchdowns in each of the last three seasons for Tampa Bay. In 2011, he was the fourth-most targeted tight end in the NFL -- only Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Pettigrew had more footballs thrown in their general direction by their quarterbacks. He played through pain on a right knee that has seen six different surgeries, and though the sheer physical upside is limited at this point in his career, Winslow seems a good risk for a Seattle team in need of far more consistent production from his position.

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