Revealing that Coach Greg Schiano intends to move in a different direction, Winslow himself broke the news in a morning interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio. The tight end, who had recently skipped voluntary off-season workouts, further indicated that the team is attempting to trade him, but will otherwise grant his outright release.
Since signing a 6 year, $36 million contract in February 2009, the 28 year-old has spent the past 3 seasons with the Bucs . While the club undoubtedly overpaid for the University of Miami product, Winslow has been one of Tampa Bay's more productive players during this time.
Enduring a series of injuries with his former team, the player drafted with the 6th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns suited up for all 48 games during the past 3 years. In that time, Winslow impressively racked up 218 receptions for 2,377 yards and 12 touchdowns, while becoming young quarterback Josh Freeman's primary weapon.
However, Winslow's years with Tampa Bay were not without negatives. With a large salary cap figure, the tight end's production still failed to live up to lofty expectations. He simply never became the feared receiver the Browns possessed in 2007, when Winslow exceeded 1,100 yards and made his sole appearance in the Pro Bowl.
Furthermore, Winslow consistently struggled to adapt into the club's running game and never displayed abilities as a solid run blocker. At times, his sluggish attitude and boisterous talking even made the athletic tight end appear a detriment to the team's difficult efforts to run the ball.
With the drafting of 1st round running back Doug Martin, as well as the return of 3rd year bull rusher LeGarrette Blount, it is obvious that Greg Schiano will instill a greater commitment to the running attack. This focus obviously diminishes the need for a player with Winslow's passing-first abilities.
While lacking histories of success, 2nd year player Luke Stocker and 2012 draft pick Drake Dunsmore both seemingly provide superior blocking at the tight end position. Additionally, the signing of All Pro wide receiver Vincent Jackson immediately boosts the diverse options for Josh Freeman in looking to throw the ball down field.
Finally, it is apparent to most fans that the coaching staff is concerned with building a new attitude in Tampa Bay. Mirroring the tenure of former coach Raheem Morris, Winslow's efforts largely went in vain for sub-par Buccaneers' squads. The one-time Miami Hurricane is an out-spoken player, who was generally accused of being coddled by the former staff. Such charges will certainly not characterize the Belichick-like discipline, which the team's new leader is already instilling at One Buc Place.
As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, an additional rumor likely doomed the club's commitment to its veteran tight end. The Bucs recently worked out free agent Dallas Clark and are considered a leading candidate to sign the former Indianapolis Colts' tight end.
Though coming off injury, Clark is a similar player to Winslow, as both are pass catching tight ends with limited blocking skills. If believing Clark is the better option, there simply is not room in the team's arsenal (or payroll) for Kellen Winslow.
As the owner of a Winslow Buccaneers' jersey, I am slightly disappointed to see his career in Tampa Bay come to an end. I am also not convinced in Dallas Clark's health or ability to thrive without Peyton Manning. Though a flawed player, Winslow still possesses dynamic play-making abilities and has only occasionally benefited from stellar quarterback play. The tight end obviously under-achieved with the Bucs, but I wish Winslow received a better opportunity in a different system.
Perhaps that will still happen, but only in a different uniform.
Yahoo! Sports, Adam Schefter reporting on Twitter.com.
More by Jeff Briscoe from Yahoo! Contributor Network:
Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. A loyal Tampa Bay Bucs fan, he co-hosts the Florida-based radio show, The Sports Train.
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