As we’ve done in years past, we’re doing our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season. See the full list of players we’ve covered so far here.
Background: The son of San Diego Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow, Winslow II played high school football at Scripps Ranch before enrolling at the University of Miami, under Larry Coker between 2001-2003. In 2003 Winslow caught 60 passes for 605 yards and a touchdown while winning the John Mackey Award as well as being named a First-Team All-American. Winslow was drafted by the Browns with the sixth pick in the 2004 NFL Draft to play again for former Miami Coach Butch Davis, who had recruited him to the school. In Cleveland, Winslow’s presence was expected help the team, but only two games into his rookie year, Winslow suffered a broken right fibula. After two surgeries, Winslow made a full recovery in time for the 2005 season, but Winslow suffered another leg injury after being thrown from his Suzuki GSX-R750 motorcycle and traing his ACL. It wasn’t until 2006 that Winslow’s value was realized with a 89 catch season. After the season, Winslow underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee to further repair cartilage damage sustained in the motorcycle accident in 2005. While Winslow was productive over the next few years, there was a tense relationship between player and team centering around Winslow’s contracting Staph infections from the Browns facilities, even at one point resulting in a suspension by GM Phil Savage which was rescinded by owner Randy Lerner. Winslow was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 for draft picks in the 2009 and 2010 drafts. Winslow was productive with the Bucs through 2011 and has since been signed and cut by the Seahawks and Patriots. Winslow was invited to training camp and looked good enough to turn the invite into a contract with the team.
2013 Projection: Like David Garrard was, there was little downside to signing Kellen Winslow. Winslow is much more a receiving option than a blocking one. The Jets know what they have with Cumberland, Reuland and Smith, but it was clear they were interested in upgrading the position during the offseason. If Winslow can stay healthy and manage the pain that prevented him from playing last season then it might be a clever move, but should Winslow be unable to endure the pain of his surgically repaired knee, the Jets will be down the roster’s only veteran pass-catching tight end. The range on what Winslow’s projection with the Jets swings wildly from possibly not making the roster to being the team’s leading receiver from the spot.