The Kansas City Chiefs released veteran right tackle Eric Winston today, just days before free agency opens. The move was likely to make room for a tackle selected first overall, as Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel are both worthy of the top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Conspiracy theorists might say it was the Chiefs’ front office getting rid of a player who called out his own fanbase. (He had a perfectly good reason to call them out, but theories are theories). No matter the reason, a veteran right tackle is on the market. So should the Buccaneers be interested?
Pro Football Focus graded Eric Winston as substantially better than Demar Dotson, and actually had Winston on par with Donald Penn, the Buccaneers’ left tackle. Winston stood our from Dotson in his ability to block for running plays, although Dotson was not given as many opportunities in this area because the Buccaneers preferred to run left. Winston has an experience advantage over Dotson, as the former Chiefs’ tackle has been an above average right tackle since he earned a starting role. The Buccaneers already have lots of money tied up in the offensive line, but is there room for one more established veteran on the front lines?
This will all come down to price. Winston is coming off a deal with big bonus money, and smaller yearly figures. If the Buccaneers can negotiate a team friendly deal that doesn’t hit cap space too hard, it might be worth it to send out an offer and see if they could build a juggernaut offensive line. A group including Penn, Nicks, Zuttah, Joseph, Winston would be the best offensive line in the NFL, but it should only happen if the price is reasonable. There will likely be many suitors for Eric’s services, so the chances are slim that a deal with Tampa would be team friendly, as Winston will be able to negotiate a good deal with multiple teams likely to pursue him.
Should the Bucs be one of those teams to offer him a good deal, and try and bring him to join the rest of the Buccaneers’ veteran O-line? Let us know in the comments below!