The Washington Redskins must really, really want to land Minnesota Vikings free agent cornerback Antoine Winfield. The team's owner, head coach and NFL's offensive rookie of the year wooed the 14-year veteran over dinner in Washington DC, according to NFL.com Thursday night.
Winfield, a standout All-American during his collegiate career at Ohio State in the late 1990s, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection with lightning-quick speed—4.4 in the 40-yard dash.
His release from the Minnesota Vikings this offseason is a result of Winfield being in the final year of a five-year contract in which he was owed a reported $7.25 million. In comparison, he made just $3 million last season.
Obviously, the Redskins do not have anything close to the number he was scheduled to earn this season. And what is their attraction to Winfield—a first-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1999?
He is fast as mentioned previously. He is listed as 5'9" and enters the 2013 season as one of the older players in the NFL. There are a small handful of active NFL players who played during the 1990s.
The Redskins calling in their biggest gun—Robert Griffin III on hand at a private dinner—shows how desperate the team is to land Winfield.
Yes, it is unanimous the team needs help in rebuilding a secondary that can defend against the pass—the Redskins finished nearly last in that category last season.
Yes, there is a multitude of younger, dare I say, more talented players available via free agency and the upcoming NFL draft in less than a month.
Winfield's career statistics through the 2012 season include 1,054 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 27 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles. He is good around the ball and certainly capable of keeping up with speedy receivers.
In 2012, he accounted for three interceptions for the Vikings, a fumble recovery and combined on 100 tackles. Not bad for a 35-year-old NFL veteran. One only needs to look at the statistics for the Redskins' own seasoned veteran London Fletcher for similar stats last season—his 139 combined tackles and five interceptions led the team in both categories.
Should the Redskins acquire Winfield—based upon the big guns courting him over dinner—there would be no such thing as a long-term contract. Should the team not focus its energy, effort and resources on an up-and-coming star instead of an on-his-way-out NFL star?
Statistics provided by ESPN.com