The Redskins are interested in an upgrade at right tackle.
I am interested in upgrading my automobile.
It is likely that neither one of us can afford what we want.
The type of wheels I’d like to get is unimportant. The tackle the Redskins want, Eric Winston, is relevant to the readers here.
Winston is looking for his third team in three years. He was with the Texans until this time last year when he was released in a salary cap move. He signed with the Chiefs, who are now ditching the zone blocking scheme they used to run and going with a power scheme under Andy Reid. They apparently will take a tackle with the top pick in the draft so they sent Winston and his $4.9 million salary packing last week.
The 29-year-old Winston is best in the zone-blocking scheme and he was very effective when Kyle Shanahan was the Texans’ offensive coordinator from 2008-2009.
The Redskins don’t have a veteran right tackle under contract. Both 2010-2011 starter Jammal Browns and 2012 starter Tyler Polumbus are unrestricted free agents. There is likely zero interest in bringing Brown back due to health concerns. Polumbus was not a disaster but he was easily the weakest link in the line, especially in pass protection. Although there may be some interest in re-signing Polumbus, Winston would be a clear improvement.
But this free agency confluence of need and fit needs one other element to be perfect and that is money. As of Sunday afternoon the Redskins were about $7 million over the cap and they need to cut some big salaries, not add them. Winston might end up having to settle for less than the four-year, $22 million contract he signed with the Chiefs a year ago but he’s not going to be in the bargain bin in which the Redskins are likely to be shopping.
According to a report the Redskins have had “little or no contact” with Winston’s camp. If it was “little” it was probably something like, hey, if prices bottom out and you’re still looking, call us.
And while we are a long way from that point we are getting closer to it. It was thought that Winston would find a new team within a few days after being released. That has not yet happened. Perhaps he is not finding the market he thought he might.
As long as he isn’t signed, the Redskins have a shot, even if the odds are against them. Winston might think that the Shanahan offense is a comfortable fit and that the Redskins are a team going places with Robert Griffin III at quarterback. Add to that the fact that only about half dozen other teams run the zone-blocking scheme, lowering the demand for Winston to an extent.
Maybe the Redskins can fit in a back-loaded contract for Winston into their salary structure, which is only tight this one season.
But at this point, that seems to be a long shot. The Redskins are likely to have to look elsewhere for help.