Kellen Winslow was traded to the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season, but was released before the season started and then landed with the New England Patriots. But he played in just one game with the Patriots in September before requesting his release, so his career looked to be nearing an end.
After getting little interest on the free agent market this spring Winslow tried out with the New York Jets at their minicamp last week, and looked good enough for the team to sign him to a one-year deal last Friday. The eight-year veteran should now move to the top of the tight end depth chart for the Jets, but should fantasy football owners pay attention?
Winslow spent three seasons (2009-2011) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with at least 66 receptions each each season and 75 or more catches twice, and most importantly he played all 16 games in all three campaigns. He has battled knee problems throughout his career, but fantasy owners may remember Winslow’s two 80-plus catch seasons with the Cleveland Browns in 2006 (89 receptions for 875 yards and three touchdowns) and 2007 (82 receptions for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns).
Jeff Cumberland was expected to take over as the Jets’ starting tight end with the depature of Dustin Keller via free agency, but the team clearly was looking to add competition to the mix and have at least done that by adding Winslow.
If he can stay healthy, Winslow should become a primary option in New York’s pass offense immediately. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes missed the final 12 games of 2012 due to a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot, and he may not be ready to go for Week 1.
Regardless of his own health, the main factor limiting Winslow’s appeal to fantasy owners is the Jets’ quarterback situation. Mark Sanchez has regressed after a solid first two seasons of his career, and rookie Geno Smith looks likely to need some time to develop. Optimistic owners in 12 and 14-team leagues could consider drafting Winslow as a low-end TE2, but I think he is best left on the waiver wire until he strings together a couple of productive games, if that ever happens.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.