Kellen Winslow to Seahawks: New TE Will Have to Earn Roster Spot in Seattle

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2012

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 04:  Tight end Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up against the Houston Texans just prior to the start of the preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on September 4, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Kellen Winslow went from being the only dependable tight end on a bad team to being one of many tight ends on a rising team. Now the former No. 6 overall pick will have to earn his roster spot the hard way with the Seattle Seahawks.

The former Browns and Buccaneers tight end has been a good NFL player, but he's failed to live up to the expectations of a high first-round pick—he's also done himself no favors by opening his mouth a few too many times.

After eight years in the league, he's become expendable—a player that a rookie NFL head coach wanted no part of in less than four months on the job—and was traded for a conditional draft pick (a seventh that could become a sixth) and replaced by a 33-year-old veteran coming off a career-worst season (Dallas Clark) all in the same day. 

For a guy who has caught 432 balls in six healthy seasons (an average of 72 catches per year), that is saying something.

But the reasoning for his trade aside, Winslow now moves out to the northwest, where he'll join a Pete Carroll-led team with three other tight ends who caught passes last year on the roster.

Although those three tight ends combined to catch only 44 passes, which is one more catch than Winslow's career-worst, they all show promise.

Zach Miller was a big free-agent signing for the Seahawks a year ago. Cameron Morrah is an intriguing fourth-year player and Anthony McCoy, a former USC Trojan, has Carroll behind him. Former starter John Carlson did leave in free agency, though.

Still, Winslow won't be handed anything just because his numbers with a different team were better than anything mustered up by Seahawks' pass-catchers.

This Seattle team is likely going to have a new starting quarterback (they didn't pay Matt Flynn $10 million guaranteed for no reason), and they're going to be looking to make a run in the NFC West.

In order to do that, Carroll will make every player on his roster earn their spot.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:   Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers jumps over a defender for the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It wouldn't be surprising at all if Winslow becomes fast friends with Flynn on the field—Flynn hooked up with Packers tight end Jermichael Finley seven times for 64 yards and one touchdown in his only start this year—but it is not going to be handed to him.

Long gone are the days when Winslow was an incoming first-round pick, or a player traded for a second- and fifth-round pick. He was just traded for the maximum of a sixth-round pick, and he's going to have to earn his roster spot just like everyone else.


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