The Oakland Raiders are in search of a tight end after Brandon Myers left for the New York Giants and now the team has set their sights on someone they tried to sign last year in free agent Kellen Winslow.
According to NFL.com, the Raiders are looking into possibly signing Winslow to help replace Myers, as he is now fully healthy after dealing with knee surgery. The report said that the Raiders thought about going after the tight end last year, but decided not to, leaving him to sign with the Patriots. Winslow played in one game and made one catch before being released by the team.
Winslow said he didn't want to deal with knee pain in a limited role and then rehabilitated and now appears fully healthy. The Raiders have a large hole of production to fix at tight end, as Myers made 79 catches for 806 yards and four touchdowns last season to lead the team. Myers had a good rapport with Carson Palmer and the quarterback completed over 70 percent of his passes to the tight end.
The Raiders lost out on many of the free agent tight ends, including Jared Cook and Benjamin Watson, who just signed with the Saints after leaving the Browns. Martellus Bennett signed a four-year deal with the Bears and was likely out of their price range.
The 29-year-old tight end hasn't played regularly since the 2011 season with the Buccaneers and could be an excellent option in the short game for the Raiders and Palmer. In 2011, Winslow made 75 catches for 763 yards and two touchdowns,
Winslow has dealt with a number of injuries in the past, including a tough leg injury early on as well as 2005 motorcycle accident that seriously injured his knee with a tear. He was traded to the Bucs from the Browns in 2009 and then signed a six-year, $36 million deal, which was the highest for a player at his position at the time.
Winslow was productive for the team and set records in his first year by making 77 catches for 884 yards and the following year he led the team with 66 catches for 730 yards. In 2011 he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, but after dealing with salary issues he was released.
Okalnad ranked eighth in the NFL in passing despite going just 4-12, primarily because they were coming from behind so much. The team has made some improvements on the defense, adding Kevin Burnett to make up for the loss of Phillip Wheeler and Desmond Bryant and Winslow could be another solid move. The team needs production at tight end and if he is healthy, he may be able to show the flashes that made him one of the best in the game for a few years.
During his time in Cleveland, Winslow had over 80 receptions twice and in 2007 he had 1,106 receiving yards, the most of his career.
The Raiders went just 4-12 last season, but they have made a number of moves that could improve the team slightly. They are not ready to go up against the Broncos for the division and while the Chiefs have improved more, the Raiders are slowly on their way.