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Interest in Eric Winston makes sense for Dolphins

When Eric Winston was released by the Houston Texans last year he visited the Dolphins and that made sense because the club was looking for a good right tackle to replace Turnstile Colombo. Ultimately Winston didn't sign with the Dolphins because, in my opinion, his price was too high for the team and the Chiefs paid him closer to what he was looking for.

But that flirtation is important because he we are, one year later, and once again Eric Winston is looking for a team and once again the Dolphins are seemingly in the market for a starting right tackle.

Remember that I presented several scenarios by which the Dolphins could address their right tackle need in the coming days and weeks in a previous post. I say right tackle, because if one assumes Jonathan Martin moves to left tackle then that creates a need at RT.

Well, we can now add Winston as a possible solution.

And all this is good for Miami.

Understand that Winston was cut by the Chiefs because of money and that team's grand opportunity to upgrade the offensive line while paying less for the opportunity. The Chiefs signed Branden Albert to their franchise tag this year and can draft an outstanding tackle prospect with their first overall pick. So cutting Winston saved $3.5 million in cap space and over $5.5 million in actual cash for the franchise that can turn around and use its first pick on a very, very good, younger, cheaper player.

But it's not as if Winston, 29, played poorly last year. He yielded three sacks the entire season and was rated the No. 9 right tackle in the NFL by profootballfocus.com. The site also cited him as an undervalued player on the Chiefs -- in other words, he played better than his cap number.

That makes him a top 10 NFL right tackle.

Considering that there is a glut of right tackles about to hit the market -- including New England's Sebastian Vollmer and Minnesota's Phil Loadholt -- I'm not certain Winston is going to break the bank. Yes, he will have suitors. There is a report that the Eagles have interest in him.

But break the bank?

Don't see it.

Add to that the fact the Dolphins are in a much better salary cap situation now than last year, and it can be assumed they can get closer to signing Winston this year than last year if they wish.

I see that as the two sides being able to move closer to each other if they like. Financially, the addition of the former University of Miami standout to the Dolphins roster can make sense. It obviously makes sense from a mutual need standpoint.

The remaining question is if it makes sense from a scheme standpoint.

I think it does. Remember the Dolphins use primarily a zone blocking scheme up front. That's exactly the type of approach the Houston Texans use and used while Winston was there and the first six years of his career.

It makes sense for the Dolphins to at least show interest in Winston -- again.

Comments

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Mando, Bring the U back, great fit on the right side,
Nice article, BUT we still have the Ire calling the shots, expect another COLOMBO ADD

Craig did his best babe Ruth in teh last blog and called this shot!

Yeah, it makes sense, if Martin actually got up before noon during this offseason to improve himself physically.

Now this is the type of player the Dolphins should spend money on in free agency, in positions of need. Winston is a good player ...

Sign him now, get his butt to Miami and get her done.

Bring him in for a visit and don't let him go without a Deal done and signed!

Mark,

I was thinking the same thing...LOL. Looks like Armando took my lead on this one (kidding). He'd be a good fit for the Dolphins for the next 3-4 years. Position taken care of. Now it's up to Martin to show he can play LT.

Biggest need on this team, IMO, is STILL TE. Can't go with Fasano again as the only option. Ireland HAS to address this. He hasn't gotten it right since he's been there, with the first year being the only exception. Does the team reach for a guy like Eiffert in the first or address it in the 2nd or FA. This is 'must have', IMO.

But it's not as if Winston, 29, played poorly last year. He yielded three sacks the entire season and was rated the No. 9 right tackle in the NFL by profootballfocus.com. The site also cited him as an undervalued player on the Chiefs -- in other words, he played better than his cap number.

That makes him a top 10 NFL right tackle.

Mando,

Good post. I didn't realize Winston played that well.

Yeah, it makes sense, if Martin actually got up before noon during this offseason to improve himself physically.

Mark,

Give me a break...He was recruited by Harbaugh & played for Harbaugh. And btw--he just so happened to be the LT protecting the best QB in college football. You really think Harbaugh played kids who are lazy??? Give the kid a chance.

Martin is KNOWN for being lazy everyone knows that

Ugh. Once again, insecure Mando needs to remind us that he WROTE ABOUT THIS! before. Seriously, how small is your manhood, anyway? You better bone up on the Geisha skills that got you this job in the first place, cuz the writing is awful.

Am I wrong in saying that Winston is available to sign NOW because he was cut? if I'm the Dolphins I'm using this as leverage against Long and if Long is continuing his stubborn stance i get a deal done with Winston and Hartline before FA opens Tuesday. Next stop....Mike Wallace.

Winston's release means the pricing on OT's has dropped as supply has just increased. Great opp for Ireland to get the right side sorted out and keep money in his pocket for play makers.

"Biggest need on this team, IMO, is STILL TE. Can't go with Fasano again as the only option. Ireland HAS to address this. He hasn't gotten it right since he's been there, with the first year being the only exception. Does the team reach for a guy like Eiffert in the first or address it in the 2nd or FA. This is 'must have', IMO."

I think you're assuming that we're going to re-sign Hartline & right now I wouldn't assume anything.
We don't have starters @ WR, TE, RT, or SS right now & we need another two CB's so take your pick...

Martin is KNOWN for being lazy everyone knows that

Jordan,

Yes you're right. I don't know what I was thinking.
It sounds logical that Harbaugh would play a kid who was 'lazy' & btw just so happened to protect the best QB in the country.

Another cheap patchwork roster being assembled right before our eyes.

If Miami signs a RT, they can use one of the top 5 draft picks on another position. Especially if they sign a top 10 RT.

In what decade do we get a franchise QB?

WNPs,

I believe they'll address WR sufficiently when it's all said and done. I don't have that same confidence when it comes to TE. It needs to change.

It makes sense for the Dolphins, that's exactly why it won't happen with Ireland on the helm.

Craig, you are right regarding TE. More and more reason why the arrow is pointing straight at your boy Eifert at #12. It's not really a reach in this draft. My nephew is as ardent a Bucs fan as I am a Dolphins fan and if we pass there's every reason to think they would jump right at him with the very next pick - at least that's what he has made me believe.

"Am I wrong in saying that Winston is available to sign NOW because he was cut? if I'm the Dolphins I'm using this as leverage against Long and if Long is continuing his stubborn stance i get a deal done with Winston and Hartline before FA opens Tuesday. Next stop....Mike Wallace."

Craig,

Jake Long was interviewed on ESPN last night & it's the first I EVER thought that he's not going to be re-signed.

BTW--I wouldn't be surprised to see Hartline leave either. Not b/c Ireland & the staff don't want him BUT I don't know if they feel he's worth the type of money he's asking for.

Winston is a great idea, move Martin to LT, resign Hartline all before the 12th. Get Wallace and use the number 12 pick choice Eiffert. He is probably the best TE and we need him, then focus on CB, DE,SS, WR and all our other needs

WNP, he's following a four time pro bowler, say what you will but there are some standards there ...

Until he looks more like a pro bowler and less like a lawn dart ... then I will cut the kid some slack.

Mark,

I'm not sure Eiffert is 'my boy'. I just want the position upgraded and I like the two guys at the top. Not sure i like them enough to take them at 12 but I'm tired of taking question marks in the 4th round. It's TIME!

Craig @ 10:20 ... BINGO! Time for Ireland to show some cajones ...

I look forward to FA opening up. The Fins have an incredible opportunity here to turn this into a very competitive team real quick. They can still open up at minimum 10 million in cap space according to everything I read.

Every year there are 8 new starters. The musical chairs is a pathetic way to run a franchise..... Or just a reflection that Irelands acquisitions stink. Either way it is NOT a winning formula. To get rid of good players, yet keep Ireland is TOTALLY MORONIC!!

Craig, you are right regarding TE. More and more reason why the arrow is pointing straight at your boy Eifert at #12. It's not really a reach in this draft. My nephew is as ardent a Bucs fan as I am a Dolphins fan and if we pass there's every reason to think they would jump right at him with the very next pick - at least that's what he has made me believe.

Mark,

Depends on highly you have him rated. If you think he's the next GREAT TE then 12 is not a reach. I don't care what position a guy plays--if you think he can great/elite you have take him. This is exactly what we did with Pouncey & that worked.

Zonk if it was easy to pick a franchise QB every team would have one. Some teams have never had one.

*Depends on how highly...

YES!! I'm totally on board with getting a solid, proven vet Tackle to shore up the line, instead of trying to go draft route.
A draftee will take a while to develop at that position.

Using up one of your high draft picks, all you've done is maintain status quo. --and even that won't be this year, as I've said it takes a while to develop the experience and chemistry linemen need.

Free agent playmakers come with more baggage, and higher questions than free agent linemen. Better use of the money. Go use your high draft picks on future star playmakers.

Craig, I just tease you about Eifert since I wasn't so initially high on him but he did prove me wrong at the combine. He had no reason to do all the drills but he did and did so with flying colours. He is by far the best TE - I wouldn't depend on Ertz. Seems like a good kid and plays with a lot of heart too. I just didn't trust his athletics but he proved them.

It's a good pick at 12 - they certainly could do a lot worse.

Plenty of depth at CB and WR in the 2nd and thrid rounds. Sign a vet at each in free agency and get some more talent in the draft

If the Hartline contract gets signed soon at reported amounts, I can't see Ireland shelling out for Winston until the Wallace/Jennings sweepstakes end. If he does go for Winston right away it might be a sign that the Wallace talk is just talk.

If we want to compete we need an immediate upgrade at WR.

"WNP, he's following a four time pro bowler, say what you will but there are some standards there ...

Until he looks more like a pro bowler and less like a lawn dart ... then I will cut the kid some slack."

Mark,

My point is that you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think it's insane to hear anyone dismissing players after their rookie season. Martin fell out of the first round b/c he needed to get stronger not b/c he's 'lazy.'

If the Hartline contract gets signed soon at reported amounts, I can't see Ireland shelling out for Winston until the Wallace/Jennings sweepstakes end. If he does go for Winston right away it might be a sign that the Wallace talk is just talk.

If we want to compete we need an immediate upgrade at WR.

Darkoak,

Until a deal is finalized with a player you can dismiss almost every report you read. There are AT LEAST 10 FA's that have been linked to playing in Miami this year...That's what happens when your team has a lot of cap space & just as many holes to fill.

Mark,

Good points at 10:46am. You may well be right. I would think if we started this offseason resigning Starks and Hartine and signing Winston and Wallace, plus drafting Eiffert, we'd be off to a great start. Still need more help at WR, CB and S but boy we'd be well on our way to having a more complete team.

WNP I get that for sure, talk is talk. Winston looks like a good pick up if we can make it happen.

Although I'm definitely behind signing a Jennings or Wallace to help our WR corps, there's a reason both are leaving. They are not stars, and they are looking for star money (and they're current teams don;'t think they are worth it).
IMHO they are both #2 receivers. Even after we shell out the cash for one of them, we will still be looking for that #1 guy. And in my book that means draft.

Can we also find a solid #2 receiver in the draft? Yep. More of those than anything else, actually.

So I'm not anxious or giddy with the prospects of Wallace or Jennings. Hartline is a solid #3, and Bess is still there, so we have the possession receiver roster covered. Now we need a guy DCoord's game-plan for.
Wallace fits that bill more than Jennings, but neither I think is our ultimate answer.
So I'm just not that worried about if we spend our cash on a solid vet tackle instead. We can find both #1s and #2 WRs in the draft should we need them. But if we draft the highest rated tackle, and then find a #2 receiver later.. we'll still be minus a #1 WR.

So I'm kinda liking the idea of our FA period being less flashy, and more productive for setting the tbale.

If Martin plays LT Tannehill will be running for his life!

Good points at 10:46am. You may well be right. I would think if we started this offseason resigning Starks and Hartine and signing Winston and Wallace, plus drafting Eiffert, we'd be off to a great start. Still need more help at WR, CB and S but boy we'd be well on our way to having a more complete team.

Craig,

First things first--Ireland needs to get a deal done with Hartline.

Darkoak, without a franchise QB the franchise fails. A GM's primary job is to acquire a franchise QB.

WNP I get that for sure, talk is talk. Winston looks like a good pick up if we can make it happen.

Darkoak,

No doubt. I wanted him last year.

Zonk, please stop. Same thing over and over. Tanny is the QB, don't like it, 31 other teams you can be a fan of

Martin is weak at RT. At LT he's outmatched every week.

WNP,

I don't know if Eifert will be the next great TE but he athletically superior to everyone in this class... could it just be that it's just that bad a class? I don't know. it might be fruitful to compare Eiffert's combine results with those of Graham and Hernandez or Gronk (don't know if he participated because of injury) and see where he stands ...

Regarding martin ... my problem with him is that he knew he had a potential NFL career, spent four years at a big program and still came out weak sauce. How does that happen?

Mm

My problem with all these free agent pick up ideas is that we need to fill positions with expensive players. I still feel we are a ways away from truely contending, and are still trying to rely on free agency to make up for shaky drafting. It's been our way for years.

Ireland is fully on the hot seat so he'll try to hit a home run in free agency and field a playoff team if only for one season.

I want to see a winner as bad as anyone else but I'm having the feeling I've seen this script play out before with us. The draft should feed in the nucleus of your team.

So I'm not anxious or giddy with the prospects of Wallace or Jennings. Hartline is a solid #3, and Bess is still there, so we have the possession receiver roster covered. Now we need a guy DCoord's game-plan for.
Wallace fits that bill more than Jennings, but neither I think is our ultimate answer.

JS,

Someone is going to pay Hartline a LOT of money to be a solid, productive Number Two so I'm not sure what games you watch or who does your scouting. Hopefully it's us but it could also be ten other teams. I don't think Rosenhaus is bluffing about that. He may be bluffing at how much he thinks Hartline will make on the open market BUT there's definite interest from other teams (some better teams) in Hartline. Bess on the other hand is a solid #3.

bobby,

Don't worry about that guy. It's the same crap every day with him. It's very clear, he's not even a Dolphins fan. He's here for one reason, to try and rile people up. Ignore him.

If Hartline hits free agency I feel the Pats might make him an offer.

Zonk, please go jump off a high bridge, it would be helpful if concrete were under that bridge.

You guys just want to sweep the QB problem under the carpet for 4 years like we did with Henne?

JS,

Actually, Jason LaConfora (yes, I know, one man's opinion) was on sports radio here this morning saying NEITHER of those guys (and Bowe) were worth the money they were after (and in Bowe's case, got).

That's not to say we shouldn't take a chance, but this is where it comes back to bite you. Marshall and Dansby weren't cheap. We haven't broken 500 with either of them. Really, only FA worth it was Pennington, he got us to the Playoffs.

Wallace is the best choice, but he's the most expensive, and if it doesn't work, depending on how the contract is done, he can hurt our CAP space long term. I'm more optimistic that Philbin/Sherman know what to do with him, but we can't waste that talent if we get him. Tannehill needs to get him the ball, and we need other weapons to make him dangerous (like TE as has been said above).

JS, I think a vet signee is imperative at both WR and CB. Not because this guy will come in and lead the league in receiving but because we just have zero competent veteran prescence at either position and both are so important. You want a guy to come in and just take the pressure off the rooks a bit and at the same time still bring something significant to the table skill wise.

Wanted them to sign him last year. Still want them to sign him.

Have to agree with Sigh...

Darkoak,

I get what you are saying, but we have $36 mil left to spend in FA. How do you propose we spend that money? It's not realistic to expect us to hit on all our draft picks, so I think when the chance is there we need to go for it. I'm not a big guy for solving things via FA but I like the idea of guys like Winston and Wallace. Who in the draft can be the next Wallace? That's the million dollar question.

"Regarding martin ... my problem with him is that he knew he had a potential NFL career, spent four years at a big program and still came out weak sauce. How does that happen?"

He needs to get stronger. There's no doubt about it. Let's see if he takes that next step. He struggled @ times @ RT but there was improvement as the season went on. Don't make like this kid was as bad as Mark Columbo out there.

IMO--I don't think Philbin--who knows more about the O-line than any HC we ever had--is willing to let Long walk if he believes Martin is a marshmellow.

...What about corner??? We have who? Richard Marshall, Dimitri Patterson? Nolan Carrol? oh yeah Jimmy Wilson can't forget about him, he is my boy.

This is a position that is more important then tight end IMO..Not sayig tight end is not important. But we stink at corner..Awful. In the pecking order of positional value. Cornerback trumps tight end. The issue is that if we do not address the corner position in free agency. Do any of the corners grade out as a reasonable choice at 12? Do they grade out higher then say a tight end may..I would say yes. But I'm not doing the grading.

I would have a hard time as GM taking Eifert, over one of the corners at 12.. I don't think that the gap is so much different between Eifert and say one of the guys that will be available in the second round. IMO Eifert is a low first round pick. There will be the argument that the corner position is weak. That the value for this position is in the second round and after. This may be true. That the corners themselves are a reach..Maybe. But if given the choice if I was building the team. (and remind you I have been an improve the tight end spot guy here for 4 years)in this draft, with the roster as it is today...I'm going corner over tight end in round 1.

Craig M, WNP, they were talking a lot this morning about contracts on the radio. Hartline may sign for 6 million a year BUT the way contracts are structured, he may only be a 2 million cap hit this year. Same with Wallace, 12 million but 4 million cap hit. If things are properly done, we can sign a lot of good FA and have a solid draft.

Might go S, instead of CB with first pick. Obviously all depends on FA. Lots of great OTs too. Giant need a CB though, I expect them to sign at least one FA and let Smith walk.

WNP,
I don't really care who pays Hartline to be a #2, that doesn't make him one on a good team (atm, he's a #1 on a bad team: us. that doesn't make him a real #1).

He's a solid possesion receiver. That's a #3. Nat Moore was a solid #3 next to Clayton and Duper. Bess is too. If Bess had some more moves or speed, he'd be a #2 maybe.
Heck, even Ireland admitted this on camera in the hard Knocks series.

***************
DC, I'm not sure what our conclusion is, but i agree the Wallace/Jennings sweepstakes is necessarily a fairytal prospect. Nor is it something to dismiss. But I'm worried that if we plunk down a wad of cash on either one, Ireland will think "mission accomplished" and move on.

************
Mark, agree we need so proven leadership and competition in the corps. But most importantly we need talent. Guys who fall down after they catch it need an upgrade to guys who can make extra yards, or break it. However we get that is fine by me. I just don't think the free-agent market for plamakers is a goldmine -- to me, it's more like a risky stock that you purchase on a peak. Could go up some more, but good chance it may go down, and was overbought.

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