A big end-zone target with experience in a Rob Chudzinski offense? Winslow's availability is something to watch. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Typically I detest the constant stream of ‘We should sign ____!' ideas every time a player is cut, or made available- but in the case of Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow there's a schematic precedent and relationship with Rob Chudzinski that makes it an interesting scenario.
We are reaching a point in the NFL where teams are starting to realize that tight ends can be as valuable as wide receivers. It's a cheap, easy mismatch that can be had at a decent price, and always causes headaches for defenses that need to decide to match size with a linebacker, or athleticism with a defensive back. Thus, we're seeing good offenses invest in two stellar tight ends, daring a defense to find a way to cover them. New England does this with Gronkowski and Hernandez, the Colts just spent two high picks on Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen; last season our own Panthers ran a two TE system, and it helped Cam Newton greatly.
It all depends what the Bucs are looking for- but could bringing in Kellen Winslow Jr. really put the Panthers' offense over the edge, and give that final piece that turns a nasty offense into a filthy one. At 28 years old Winslow still has enough in the tank, and he was a legitimate 700 yard TE last year. If the Panthers were to pair Greg Olsen with Kellen Winslow with their current weapons I can't help but feel the defense could falter and the offense could pick up the slack.
Reports are that Greg Schiano has already told Winslow they're trying to move him- and there's a chance they might not get anything more than a 6th or 7th round pick (or end up just cutting him). Given he was a 1,100 yard receiver with Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland, and he's a player Chud has a deep rapport with, this really could be something to watch. This is a team built to bring in players they've had past success with, and this is the kind of savvy, low-risk move that adds a lot. If nothing else it fits the current Panthers' MO.