The tight end position is an area of concern for the New York Jets, leading to the news today that Kellen Winslow Jr. has been invited to minicamp on a tryout basis. The Jets currently feature Jeff Cumberland, the unproven Hayden Smith and undrafted free agents on the depth chart at tight end. The Jets will have a three-day minicamp next week, with Kellen Winslow Jr. joining the team on Tuesday on a tryout basis for the talented but oft-injured tight end.
Still only 29 years old, Kellen Winslow Jr. is looking to resurrect his career. Coming out of the University of Miami he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, seen as a potential superstar at tight end. Just four years ago he inked a massive contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the largest in NFL history for a tight end. While Kellen Winslow Jr. didn't struggle in three seasons with Tampa Bay, he didn't live up to the contract and was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks. He was subsequently cut, latched on with the New England Patriots for a game and then requested his release from the team.
This is obviously far from a sure thing, but a nice low-risk trial for the Jets. In each of the five seasons that Kellen Winslow Jr. has played all 16 games in his NFL career, he has posted at least 66 catches. He posted back-to-back 80-plus reception seasons in 2006 and 2007, including 1,106 receiving yards in 2007 and five touchdowns. Kellen Winslow Jr. also scored five touchdowns in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
With the Jets desperately needing help at tight end, it's a perfect match. Kellen Winslow Jr. is hungry for the opportunity and the Jets are hungry for a true replacement for Dustin Keller. If healthy, Kellen Winslow Jr. is a big-play threat at tight end who could make a huge difference for the Jets. If he isn't healthy, the three-day minicamp next week will come and go without a contract offer. For his part, Kellen Winslow Jr. is clearly pumped up about the minicamp invite:
J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!!— Kellen Winslow Jr. (@KellenWinslowJr) June 8, 2013
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news:
Free-agent tight end Kellen Winslow is invited to the Jets mini camp next week on tryout basis.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 8, 2013