Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Greg Schiano Wise to Dump Kellen Winslow Jr.

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterMay 21, 2012

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 20:  Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball for yardage during their game against the Seattle Seahawks on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly interested in trading Kellen Winslow Jr., and for a young team and a young head coach, it is the perfect move.

Winslow himself dropped the news on Sirius XM radio Monday morning, saying that the Bucs have told him they "don't want him" and are looking for a trade partner. Winslow also said that if the Bucs don't find a trading partner, they will likely release him.

Want a reason why the Bucs are looking to dump him? Look no further.

Winslow has no filter. Any goodwill he may have had with the team was severed when he cut their legs out from under them with any trading partner. Why trade for Winslow when he could be hitting the open market and will cost less money—and zero in terms of future draft picks?

While many will spend the next days and weeks speculating who will replace Winslow for Tampa Bay or where Winslow will end up via trade or release, it's important to point out all of the reasons Schiano and the Buccaneers are giving up on him.

As former Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King points out, Winslow is on a team-friendly contract and it wouldn't cost the team much to keep him around, which makes it curious as to why they would want to be rid of him so badly.

Simply put, it would be a gamble to keep a loose cannon.

Great college coaches always have a rough transition to the pros. It's a different atmosphere. These aren't the players the coach recruited, and their future does not depend on his subjective feelings about them. He can't cut their scholarships, and, if there truly is a coach versus superstar battle, the coach will lose almost every time.

Theoretically, the idea of a player like Winslow is enticing.

In reality, Winslow has become a liability.

Then, there's the simple fact that Winslow simply isn't the elite talent that many still make him out to be.

Yes, he flashes moments of brilliance. Yes, he is only 28 years old. But with bulky knees, a tendency to sit out practices and an aversion to run-blocking, Winslow has been more trouble than he is worth for years.

The Tampa Bay offense might not have use for Winslow anyway.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is coming over from the New York Giants where his protege, Eli Manning, just had his best year after moving to a more wide receiver-centric offense.

Greg Schiano did a fantastic job in developing NFL talent at Rutgers, but tight ends were never among his major exports.

The last NFL-caliber tight end to make it out of Rutgers was L.J. Smith, who bounced around with the Eagles and the Ravens and last played in 2009. He's the only tight end during Schiano's Rutgers tenure who has made any impact as a pro.

With the additions of Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin (on top of young talents like Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Dezmon Briscoe), there may not have been enough snaps for the tight end position. The snaps that do trickle down could easily land in the hands of 2011 fourth-round draft pick, Luke Stocker, who was effective in his limited time as a rookie.

Clearly, the Buccaneers could have kept Kellen Winslow Jr., but have decided that they generally have little use for a tight end and, specifically, have even less use for Winslow.

For a young coach and a young team looking to rebuild, that is a wise decision.



Michael Schottey is an NFL Associate Editor for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He has professionally covered both the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the scouting combine and the Senior Bowl.


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