Assuming you’ve experienced deja vu, you know what I mean when I say it’s happening to me right now.
But, have you ever had deja vu about Eric Winston?
It was around this same time last year the Houston Texans, in an attempt to create cap space, parted ways with right tackle Eric Winston.
At that time, I screamed for Winston in Washington, noting just how important it was to get a decent bookend to protect the incoming rookie.
Almost one year later to the day, Winston has been released again as the result of a team (this time the Chiefs) attempting to create cap space.
The Redskins are still in dire need of a starting right tackle and I’m shouting again to remind people that Winston is good, that he has a connection with Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and that he’s a perfect fit in Washington’s zone-blocking scheme.
Sadly, the Redskins are still against the cap while facing menacing penalties.
The Redskins can make roster moves accordingly in order to free up space, as there are opportunities to release, restructure and renegotiate.
The important piece of the puzzle, however, is to determine Winston’s asking price and see if—for this go around—the 29-year-old is realistically in the cards.
According to Pro Football Focus, Winston was the ninth-best right tackle overall last season behind Andre Smith, Gosder Cherilus, Anthony Davis, Sebastian Vollmer, Tyson Clabo, Orlando Franklin, Mitchell Schwartz and Phil Loadholt.
In pass protection, PFF ranked Winston at 13.2, good for seventh best at his position last season. Cherilus was ranked first among right tackles at 23.4.
As a run-blocker, Winston scored a 7.2, ranking him fourth. San Francisco’s Anthony Davis was best in the league at 22.4.
In addition to his ability, Winston is 29 (he’ll turn 30 in November) and healthy (he missed just one snap last season).
Head coach Mike Shanahan obviously wants to upgrade the protection for his quarterback Robert Griffin III, and general manager Bruce Allen can always make the numbers work.
Signing Winston won’t be that easy. The Redskins are up just as much against the cap as they are against time. In an effort to make way for Winston, they would be forced to make crucial roster and financial decisions in just a few short days—Winston will be in demand.
The good news for the Redskins is that, of the eight right tackles that ranked better than Winston last season, four of them are free agents this offseason, including Smith (No. 1), Cherilus (No. 2), Vollmer (No. 4) and Loadholt (No. 8)*.
As a result, perhaps the market at right tackle would give the Redskins some bargaining room if they did in fact show interest in Winston.
Maybe the outcome is different for the Redskins this time around. Maybe my screaming and shouting for Winston to replace Tyler Polumbus pays off.
I wouldn’t hold my breath.
*Andre Smith is expected to demand big dollars as the top free agent right tackle. The Lions are expected to move on from Gosder Cherilus. Although the Patriots haven’t completely shunned Vollmer, the market for him will be interesting. And while Loadholt didn’t receive the franchise tag last week, the Vikings are probably more interested in working a long-term deal with him.
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