It's hard to find a weakness on the Seattle Seahawks' roster, but the offensive line is a soft spot that needed to be addressed. While all of the top candidates have long since found homes, Eric Winston isn't a solid fallback plan in July.
According to a report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, Winston has agreed to a one-year deal with the defending Super Bowl champions:
NFLPA president Eric Winston signs a one-year deal with the Seahawks, per league source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 29, 2014
Waiting to find a home is certainly nothing new for Winston, who agreed to a deal with the Arizona Cardinals last year on July 25. He told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com that his long wait this offseason had nothing to do with lack of interest from teams:
It's more of the right situation not presenting itself. Last year, I thought Arizona was a good spot for me and I think going forward I'm looking for that same kind of opportunity.
If Winston wanted a situation where winning would present itself, he could have done a lot worse. Seattle is coming off its first championship and returns key players to a team that decimated Denver in the Super Bowl. The eight-year veteran certainly sounded excited by his new situation on Twitter:
Season finally starts for me today! Looking forward to chasing a ring with the Seahawks!! Time go to work!— Eric Winston (@ericwinston) July 29, 2014
Winston will provide stability and consistency on the offensive line, as ESPN's Field Yates noted on Twitter:
New Seahawks OT Eric Winston has started 119 consecutive regular season games. 4th longest active streak (behind Eli, Rivers, D. Ferguson).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 29, 2014
At the very least, according to NFL writer Bill Riccette, Winston gives the Seahawks much-needed depth in the trenches:
Eric Winston should provide some solid depth for the Seahawks.— Bill Riccette (@Bill_Riccette) July 29, 2014
Given the way Seattle's offense operates, running a power style with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson's ability to create big plays by moving out of the pocket, they need to have depth and strength up front.
Another reason for needing depth up front is the NFC West. St. Louis has arguably the best pass-rusher not named J.J. Watt in Robert Quinn. Chris Long contributed 8.5 sacks for Jeff Fisher's defense. San Francisco has Aldon Smith, who has 42 sacks in 43 career regular season games, and Justin Smith bull-rushing opponents.
Plus, the Seahawks know Winston well after his one year in Arizona. Pete Carroll got to see him up close and personal twice last year. The 30-year-old will provide support for quarterback Russell Wilson, who was sacked 44 times last season, tied for third most in the NFL.
Winston's ability to stay healthy will be helpful for the Seahawks in 2014. Left tackle Russell Okung played just eight games last season, while right tackle was a revolving door with rookie Michael Bowie and Breno Giacomini.
Giacomini signed with the New York Jets, so Winston figures to play a prominent role in Seattle's offensive line rotation and possibly start at right tackle by opening day against Green Bay on September 4.
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