In the end, it was Kellen Winslow, Jr.’s salary more than his troublesome knees or alleged prima donna semantics that made him expendable in Seattle.
The Seahawks cut the former Pro Bowl tight end on Saturday, a day after the final training camp cuts were made. Winslow’s departure comes before he played his first official game for the organization.
Winslow’s release came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn in 2012, according to the Seattle Times. Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. The 6-foot-6 Moore caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.
Seattle acquired Winslow in May from Tampa Bay for a 2013 seventh-round draft pick when it became apparent there that he didn’t fit into the plans of new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. Winslow was expected to be a major contributor in the Seahawks offense this fall, despite his knee problems in the past.
But Winslow didn’t register much of an impact during the preseason, finishing with just three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. His practice time was also closely monitored as Seattle tried to get the nine-year pro from the University of Miami to the regular season without putting additional stress on his knee.
The son of the Hall of Fame tight end by the same caught more passes over the previous five seasons than all but two tight ends in the NFL, but injuries had clearly taken their toll.
The Seahawks still believed, however, that they could regularly create schematic mismatches by lining Winslow and starting tight end Zach Miller up against slower linebackers or smaller safeties. Miller signed with the Seahawks before the 2011 season, but was stuck in mostly a blocking situation during his first season and never was much of a receiving threat.
For his career, Winslow has 437 receptions for 4,836 yards and 23 touchdowns in previous stops in both Cleveland and Tampa Bay.