The Kellen Winslow era in Tampa is reportedly over.
The tight end in turmoil hopped on SirusXM Radio this morning to dish about the Buccaneers lack of interest in keeping him around as the new Greg Schiano regime takes over.
“They’re not looking for my services this year.” Winslow said. ” [Coach Greg Schiano] said he’d help me out with a trade. It’s kind of shocking, but that’s what it is.”
The news is supported by the fact that the Bucs worked out ex-Colts tight end Dallas Clark earlier this week. Clark is expected to sign with Tampa sometime tomorrow. Clark made his name being Peyton Manning’s go-to and most reliable target during his tenure in Indianapolis.
Bringing in Clark shouldn’t be a surprise. Most of the coaches on this staff have lobbied for ex-players of theirs to join the team and with quarterback coach Ron Turner’s last two years being spent in Indy with Clark the move gels with the transactions Tampa has pursued this offseason.
The main thing here is Winslow though. It was just three years ago that the Bucs traded draft picks to the Browns to get the troubled tight end who never fully developed into the target he was touted as coming out of Miami.
Last year was the second year of dual disappointing seasons for Winslow as he saw his number significantly drop especially with Josh Freeman’s struggles. Winslow was also a vocal proponent of Raheem Morris staying in Tampa and although his loyalty obviously lies with the team, the fact he implied he wanted out if Morris left didn’t sit well with management.
“If something were to happen to him we would be devastated and hearts would be broken,” Winslow said in December. “We play for him.”
But as the story unfolds, the problem with Winslow is not what he said or even really how he played last season, it’s his lack of participation this season, a season of transition.
“[Schiano was] kind of upset that I wasn’t there with the team working out in the offseason and then the first week of OTAs.” Winslow said. ”You know, look, I’ve been there the last three years and I’ve had a successful career so far. You just don’t get rid of one of your best players because of that.”
Tampa is trying to move away from the troubled image that was bringing to be printed on the team with off-field troubles surrounding Aqib Talib, Tanard Jackson and Mike Williams.
Williams has since stayed out of trouble after his DUI his rookie season and Jackson was cut earlier this offseason after failing a physical. Now that Winslow is drawing a line in a sand it’s not surprising the camels back has supposedly broke.
The Bucs will likely trade Winslow rather than cut him. Winslow has three years left on his deal which is worth $13.3 million left and his cap hits for those seasons are $4.6 million, $5.6 million and $6.6 million. After the 2014 season Winslow is a free agent.
Right now the landing spots for Winslow aren’t plentiful. The Chicago Bears have generated interest an date addition would make perfect sense after loading Jay Cutler up with Brandon Marshall and rookie wide out Ashlon Jeffery.
It was a good experiment but the Winslow trade won’t last into the new regime. The move continues to show that this hard lined regime will not bend for ‘one of the guys’ the way the last one did.
To quote a fellow Minnesotan who has since moved on from the snowy tundra: The times they are a changin’.