In the aftermath of the Aaron Hernandez ankle injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for the next four to six weeks, the New England Patriots have signed former Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
Waived by the Seattle Seahawks during the preseason, Winslow worked out for the Patriots prior to the regular season, but failed a physical, leading them to sign tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.
Winslow became a popular player in the NFL after the 2007 season when he helped Derek Anderson have a breakout year with the Browns, posting 1,106 yards and 5 touchdowns. Since then his numbers have slipped, but he hasn’t hit a dramatic fall. Last season with the Buccaneers, Winslow had 763 yards and two touchdowns on 77 receptions.
It’ll take a few weeks for Winslow to get acquainted with the offense. However, if he comes in and immediately gets to business, he can be another threat for this Patriots offense, at least until Hernandez returns from his injury.
If Winslow still has a little speed to his game, he will add to the pass-heavy offense the Patriots run, but will likely serve a small role as a run blocker to bolster the running game.
With the signing of Winslow, he will join a tight end core of Rob Gronkowski, Hoomanawanui, Hernandez, Daniel Fells, who was activated for the first time all season before Week 2, and Visanthe Shiancoe who is on injured reserve, but designated for return on Week 8 due to the new rules set this season.