NFL Free Agents 2012: Which Potential Suitor Fits Eric Winston the Best?

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2012

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans locks up with defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

When right tackle Eric Winston was cut from the Houston Texans, more than a few people around the league were surprised.

Throughout his five years in the NFL, Winston has established himself as one of the premier offensive linemen in the NFL. According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, Winston ranks as the top right tackle in all of the NFL.

Since Winston has hit the market, he’s drawn interest from teams like the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.

So, of those teams, which one would be in Eric Winston’s best interest to sign with?

Let’s take a look.


Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins were the first team to meet with Eric Winston after he was surprisingly released on Monday.

The Dolphins could really use a right tackle over what they had in Marc Colombo in 2011. It was clear that the run game and the pass game were affected by the inconsistency at the position.

With Reggie Bush in the backfield and the fact that the Dolphins are primarily an edge rushing team, a guy with Eric Winston’s foot speed and agility, coupled with his size, would actually fit perfectly on Miami’s offensive line.

Unfortunately, despite being the first to get a crack at Winston on the open market, it’s unlikely that the Dolphins will put all their resources into signing him with the prospect of nabbing Matt Flynn and the fact that they have the No. 8 pick in the upcoming draft.

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 29:  Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans lines up against the Indianapolis Colts on November 29, 2009  at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Colts won 35-27.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams invested nearly $78 million into Sam Bradford and did a horrendous job at protecting him in his sophomore season.

Needless to say, adding a player of Eric Winston’s caliber would bolster a Rams offensive line that already had talented players on it, one that just added Pro Bowl center Scott Wells from Green Bay.

The Rams have been big players so far in free agency, and they clearly want to make a push for the NFC West division title as early as next season.

If Winston wants to potentially be part of something special, St. Louis could be the place for him. With the early moves the Rams have made and the picks they’ve acquired in the upcoming drafts, they could be a team that’s a mainstay in the NFC for years to come.


Kansas City Chiefs

As the events of free agency continue to transpire, it’s becoming more and more likely that the Kansas City Chiefs are the team for offensive tackle Eric Winston.

The Chiefs are a team that most picked to win the AFC West in 2011, but due to decimating injuries to key players, they struggled and finished the season with a 7-9 record.

If Winston were to sign with Kansas City Chiefs, he’d provide an instant improvement over last year’s starter Barry Richardson.

The Chiefs are set to return Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassel, and they just signed Peyton Hillis in free agency, so Winston could potentially be blocking for the league’s top rushing offense in 2012.

Winston had his trip to Kansas City on Thursday, and by all reports, the two sides really saw eye to eye.

Because of Kansas City’s elite run game, the Chiefs are the best fit for Eric Winston, and Eric Winston is the best fit for the Kansas City Chiefs.

It’s a perfect match!