Last night the Seattle Seahawks acquired former Pro-Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a conditional , late-round draft pick (it will be either a 6th or 7th rounder). Winslow has been a highly productive football player, and as pointed out in an article written by Brock Huard, would have shattered Seahawk records for receiving yards and receptions for a tight end in five of his eight seasons. The Seahawks have been looking to add a tight end in the wake of John Carlson’s departure to Minnesota, and I don’t think they could have done much better than bringing Winslow into the fold.
Winslow is a very athletic player, who can create matchup nightmares for linebackers and strong safeties. His frame (he’s 6 foot 4, 240 pounds), hands, and toughness make him ideal for running routes over the middle, and there are few in the league who are better at it. In all five of the seasons in which he has played in 16 games, he has lead his team in receptions, and he has posted staggering career highs (89 catches in 2006, and 1,106 yards in 2007) for a tight end. Also, keep in mind that Winslow has never played on a playoff team, my point being that he has been productive despite often having less- than-stellar talent around him.
Last season, the Seahawk offense took off when Marshawn Lynch and the offensive line became comfortable with the new running scheme installed by new assistant head coach Tom Cable. A staple of the scheme is formations with two tight ends. Winslow’s addition alongside the sturdy, blocking-oriented Zach Miller will allow the Seahawks to be far more effective as a passing team in this formation. Teams frequently packed their defense along the line of scrimmage when facing two Seahawk tight ends toward the end of last year. Winslow’s speed and receiving ability make him a natural target for play-action passes from these sets.
The Seahawks are one of the youngest teams in the league, and they showed dramatic improvement across the board as last season progressed. The defense has the potential to become one of the league’s best, and the running game was one of the league’s best during the second half of last season. Seattle brought in a new quarterback, Matt Flynn, and now has given him a security blanket by adding an upper-echelon receiving tight end. The addition of Winslow looks like an excellent one, and could be the final piece the Seahawks need to become a playoff team.
Head Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider deserve a pat on the back for Winslow’s acquisition. This move will likely slide largely under the radar of the national sports media, but could prove to be among the best deals of the 2012 NFL offseason.
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.