The New York Jets were unable to find a tight end worth drafting in April, but they found an affordable alternative in June, when they signed veteran Kellen Winslow to a one-year deal reportedly worth just $840,000.
Winslow has a lot to prove, and he’s not the first to try to revitalize his NFL career with a “prove-it” deal in New York. Safety LaRon Landry parlayed a one-year stint with the Jets into a new four-year contract this offseason.
For a tight end looking for an opportunity, Winslow couldn’t have picked a better spot. The Jets’ tight end depth is shallow, with a pair of undrafted project tight ends atop the depth chart in Jeff Cumberland and Hayden Smith.
To their credit, Cumberland and Smith have made strides in their development, and they’ll find ways to contribute one way or another this season. But Winslow, who turns 30 in July, has a great opportunity in front of him.
A former Pro Bowl player at one point in career, Winslow will enter training camp looking to earn snaps in an offense run by Marty Mornhinweg that loves to incorporate the tight end in the vertical passing game.
As long as Winslow can still get open down the seam, he should have a great chance to earn serious playing time for the Jets. If he can stay healthy and play to his abilities, it could pay off for him like it did LaRon Landry.
Winslow, Cumberland and Smith all figure to get their share of playing time if everything goes according to plan, but a good training camp from Winslow could help him get a leg up on the Jets’ two incumbent tight ends.
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