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News » Just be glad that Winslow is not the Browns' problem

Just be glad that Winslow is not the Browns' problem

Just be glad that Winslow is not the Browns' problem
It seems agents such as Drew Rosenhaus always find a way to convince a team to overpay for troubled players.

But when I heard Tampa Bay made Kellen Winslow the NFL's highest-paid tight end, I screamed, "They did what?"

The announcement of Winslow's extension made me all the more grateful that the new Browns' front office shipped Winslow to the Bucs for a second rounder in 2009 and a fifth-round pick in 2010.

The last thing the Browns need right now is a tight end who can't block; a tight end with a frightening injury history where he has played in only 44 games in five NFL seasons.

Now that tight end has a new contract for six years at $36 million.

Even more astounding, Tampa Bay guaranteed Winslow slightly more than $20.2 million over the next three seasons. For you future agents keeping score at home, that's $5.2 million in 2009, $6.7 million in 2010 and $8.3 million in 2011.

He can blow out his knee tomorrow, and he will be paid every dime of those three seasons.

Winslow had two years left on his contract with the Browns: $4.5 million in 2009, $4.75 in 2010. In his five-year Browns career, Winslow made more than $20 million.

There was no rush or reason for Tampa to give Winslow this outrageous deal.

Furthermore, Winslow played only 10 games last season, catching 43 passes.

It's easy to remember that midseason battle between the Browns and Winslow about a reoccurrence of his staph infection. He missed two games, was suspended and unsuspended and the


tions fi-

asco that followed partially cost Browns General Manager Phil Savage his job.

But Winslow also sat out the final four games of the season with a high ankle sprain.

Bottom line: Winslow gets hurt. He's played more than 10 games only twice in his five pro seasons and had at least four "procedures" performed on his knee.

In 2004, it was a broken leg while on the coverage team during an on-side kick.

In 2005, it was the motorcycle accident that nearly killed him, and resulted in the major knee injury.

In 2007, he had microfracture surgery on his knee, but recovered quickly and caught 82 passes in a Pro Bowl season.

In 2008, he had "minor" knee surgery before the season, then came the staph infection and ankle problems.

Over the years,he also has complained of a dislocated shoulder.

This is not to question Winslow's courage. He plays in a lot of pain. But knee problems have robbed Winslow of his ability to block. Last season, he was flagged seven times for offensive pass interference, pushing off to get open as he no longer has the speed to run away from defenders.

Exactly how all this adds up to giving Winslow the largest contract ever given to a tight end defies any sort of logic, even in the twisted world of pro sports. But Tampa Bay did it, with General Manager Mark Dominik even telling the media, "We feel comfortable with [Winslow] being a team leader."

I feel even more comfortable with the Browns' tight end situation.

Veterans Steve Heiden and Robert Royal will help the running game with their blocking, and young Martin Rucker could make up for some of the loss of Winslow being a pass-catching tight end.

And I like that second-round pick in this year's draft, too.

To reach Terry Pluto: terrypluto2003@yahoo.com, 216-999-4674

Previous columns online: cleveland.com/columns

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 9, 2009

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