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Should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pursue Eric Winston?

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!

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  • Tony Brown

    If this was last year, I’d say yes. Now, I don’t think so, unless he comes dirt cheap. We already have a quality RT in Demar Dotson. And while Winston would certainly be an upgrade, he’s not worth the price tag, especially considering he plays the least important position on the offensive line.

    • Leo

      I tend to agree, but the price could be right. We’re getting rid of a 5 million dollar waste of cap space in Jeremy Trueblood, so if Winston could come for cheaper than that, it might be tempting.

      • Tony Brown

        I’d like him for under 5mil, but I just don’t think that’s gonna happen. He’s one of the best RTs in the NFL, and a lot of teams could use him. There’s just no way he goes that cheap.
        He’d be a nice luxury to have, but we can’t really afford to spend big on an already expensive offensive line. Sure, we have cap space, but we need to save some of it for Revis’ contract extention. :P

        • Leo

          The Top RT’s make between 6-8, in terms of cap hit (which is what ultimately matters). He’s a notch below elite so it’s reasonable to see him signing for 5.

          • Tony Brown

            I personally would put him among the top RTs in the league. If we could get him for 5, I’d be all for it. But you know some desperate team like the Bears or Cardinals would be willing to pay him a lot more than that.