Kellen Winslow was acquired by the Seattle Seahawks in the hopes that along with Zach Miller the duo could become a formidable set of tight ends who could add another element to the Seahawks offense.
Those plans drastically changed on Saturday when Winslow was released by the team, keeping true to the Seahawks’ past form of tinkering with their roster even after all training camp cuts are made.
A team spokesman confirmed Winslow’s release shortly after it was first reported by ESPN.com. Winslow was scheduled to make $3.3 million in base salary in 2012, following his trade from Tampa Bay to Seattle in May.
Seattle moved quickly to fill Winslow’s spot by agreeing to terms with former Cleveland tight end Evan Moore, who was released by the Browns on Friday. Moore caught 34 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns a season ago for Cleveland. Cutting Winslow briefly left Seattle with just Miller and Anthony McCoy on the active roster, but there is likely to be more shuffling before the Seahawks start preparations for the regular season opener at Arizona on Sept. 9.
The Seahawks gave up a conditional draft pick to the Buccaneers to get Winslow, who said it became clear he didn’t fit into the plans of new Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. Even with knee problems in the past, he was expected to be a significant contributor to the Seahawks offense.
”I knew when Raheem (Morris) left and coach Schiano came in I was kind of skeptical how the fit was going to be, how the team was going to be run,” Winslow said during training camp. ”So it does motivate me. But I just want to be an elite tight end. My thing is catching the ball. I want to be the top guy at that.”
Winslow didn’t have much impact during preseason games, finishing with just three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. His practice time was also closely monitored as Seattle tried to get Winslow to the regular season without putting additional stress on his knee.
The Seahawks believed that schematically they could create mismatches using Winslow and Miller lined up against slower linebackers or smaller safeties. Miller signed with the Seahawks before the 2011 season, but was stuck in mostly a blocking situation during his first season and never was much of a receiving threat.
”I’ve always had a blocking tight end and Zach is both,” Winslow said during camp. ”We’ll be even more dangerous.”