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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



May 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

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Priceline: The cost of Kellen Winslow

Tampa Bay didn't up and give Kellen Winslow away.

Not entirely anyway.

They got a late-round draft pick for him. A late-round pick in next year's draft, which is about as little draft compensation as you can possibly give up in a transaction in the NFL. It's what Seattle received for Seneca Wallace two years ago, a backup quarterback the Seahawks were going to cut.

One week after the transaction, I understand the deal almost entirely except for one nagging thing: How Seattle gave up so darn little?

Because it was so close to nothing to acquire a player whose salary isn't prohibitive ($3.3 million in 2012) and who has been undeniably productive (218 catches in three years with Tampa Bay).

The Seahawks got a second tight end to pair with Zach Miller, someone who can step into the role Seattle envisioned for John Carlson before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in training camp last year.

Yes, Miller's production dropped off a cliff last year, and no, Winslow isn't getting any younger, but these are two of the league's most productive, pass-catching tight ends in the previous five years, and if opponents load up to stop the Seahawks run game, Seattle now has a pair of tight ends to search out mismatches against linebackers in the passing game.

The Bucs were through with Winslow. That's evident. Coach Greg Schiano -- whose last name is pronounced with a hard 'A' -- wasn't happy with Winslow's decision not to show up for the voluntary portion of the team's offseason training activities.

Winslow is 28, but he has knees that have to be managed, and to read the coverage of the trade from the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times, this was as much about Winslow's practice schedule as anything else.

Greg Schiano brings Kellen Winslow era with Bucs to quick close
By Gary Shelton | The Tampa Times

"Greg Schiano, is urgent, demanding, and his immediate goal is to squeeze everything he can out of the next five minutes. Winslow is a take-his-time, do-it-his-way guy who requires special handling. You could not have imagined a worse match."
     -- Gary Shelton, The Tampa Times

Winslow's tenure comes to predictable end
By Martin Fennelly | The Tampa Tribune

"Winslow was overrated here, never elite, never the force he was supposed to be, never that game-changer. Bucs GM Mark Dominik paid for elite with that nutty contract, which at the time made Winslow the highest-paid tight end in world history.

"What difference did he make? 218 catches and it's as if he was never here."
     -- Marin Fennelly, The Tampa Tribune

Seventy catches a year is 70 catches a year. You know how many times the Seahawks have had a tight end catch 70 passes in a year? None.

Which gets me back to the fact that Seattle gave up about as little as possible in terms of draft-pick compensation. The Bucs must have truly had no other options, which left the Seahawks in the position of giving up a pick from the tail end of next year's draft to acquire a tight end who no longer fit in Tampa Bay's plans.

Even with the questions about Winslow's knees, it's hard to see a downside to this transaction for Seattle.


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By the way, I hope you or somebody at the ST shares the results of that Friday poll... MORE
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