Kellen Winslow: Should Veteran Tight End Be an Option for Miami Dolphins?

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaContributor IIOctober 2, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Tight end Kellen Winslow #82 of the New England Patriots catches a pass during warm ups before the start of the Patriots game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The development of Ryan Tannehill is going much better than any Dolphins fan expected.

Tannehill just played his best game, throwing for 431 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions against the Cardinals. Tannehill performed well despite lacking weapons in the passing game other than Brian Hartline and Davone Bess.

What Tannehill seems to be lacking the most is a safety blanket tight end who can be counted upon in the red zone. While Anthony Fasano is a decent blocking tight end who can make the catches he has to, he's not a playmaker.

Yet there's a playmaking tight end now available for any team that chooses to sign him. That playmaker is Kellen Winslow.

Winslow's last stop was with the New England Patriots, a team he played with for exactly one week. In his one week with the Patriots, Winslow made one catch for 12 yards. He asked for and was granted a release by the Patriots after their Week 3 contest against the Baltimore Ravens.

While a player getting released might be seen as a red flag, Winslow asked for his release and it was likely for good reason: he wants to be a bigger part of a team's offense. In New England, Winslow was a third option at the tight end position behind Rob Gronkowski and Daniel Fells who was only brought in due to Aaron Hernandez's injury.

However, Hernandez seems to be recovering from his injury quite well, as the Boston Globe is reporting that he is walking around without crutches or a protective boot over his injured leg. That, along with a knee injury that's nagging Winslow, is said to be the reason behind the release.

But would Winslow help the Miami Dolphins? Despite the past injuries and the pain he's played through, yes.

Miami needs more weapons for Tannehill. Thus far he has shown the ability to lead a team and improve the play of some of the players around him. Hartline is showing signs of a breakout 2012 season, while Bess continues to be reliable.

But outside of Bess and Hartline, Miami is barren.

Anthony Armstrong has flopped thus far, while Legedu Naanee is on his way to becoming one of the most despised Miami Dolphins by fans since Sammie Smith fumbled what would have been a game-winning touchdown against the Houston Oilers in 1991 (am I the only one that remembers the "Sammie Sucks" chants that rang through Joe Robbie Stadium until he was traded to Denver?).

At tight end, Charles Clay has been underwhelming while Michael Egnew is seen more as a project. Fasano has been the lone tight end to get passes thrown to him, despite the fact that Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin's offense calls for two-tight-end sets most of the time.

This is where the 29-year-old Winslow would be of immense help. At 6'4", 254 lbs, Winslow would be a huge target for Tannehill. While he's not as fast as he was at the beginning of his career, he has still been shown to be very productive. Last season with the Buccaneers, Winslow had 75 receptions for 763 yards and two touchdowns.

If given the chance (and if he feels alright, as he has admitted to playing through the pain he has in his knees), Winslow could still be an impact player in the NFL.

The Dolphins need an impact player to push their offense over the hump. Winslow would be perfect for them right now, at least as a one year rental.

It would be worth it for the Dolphins to gamble on Winslow, and it would be worth it for Winslow to take a gamble on the Dolphins.