How can it be that Kellen Winslow Jr., a tight end of immense skill and apparently sound health, not have a team to call his own two days before the first weekend of the NFL season?
That is a mystery of significant proportions.
A free agent five years removed from a Pro Bowl appearance because of injuries, Winslow was not signed by the New England Patriots after a workout with the team.
Speculation mounted that Winslow’s creaky knees were a reason the Patriots passed on him. But ESPN reports that was not the case. Apparently, he just did not impress enough, despite playing in all 16 games in the last three seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Rather, New England already had tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Visanthe Shiancoe on the roster.
It had to hurt – and puzzle Winslow – that New England placed Shiancoe on the injured reserve list and signed veteran free agent Michael Hoomanawanui.
Winslow, who is not year 30, was solid, but not spectacular last year. In 2011 he caught 75 passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns. Winslow has caught 437 passes for 4,836 yards and 23 touchdowns in his seven years in the league.
The Associated Press reported that Winslow was acquired this off season by the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional draft pick. The idea, apparently, was to pair him with tight end with Zach Miller, creating a double threat from that position.
But Winslow was cut this week. In preseason games, he finished with just three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
He is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow, perhaps the most dynamic player at his position ever. While it is surprising the younger Winslow will be sitting home this Sunday, it is likely that he will get signed by someone before long.