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.