When the Seahawks traded for former Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow in May, they envisioned him doing something John Carlson never could – teaming with Zach Miller in two-tight end sets.
Now that won’t happen, either, as Winslow was released on Saturday.
The move to acquire Winslow was rooted in the same desire to have two productive and versatile tight ends on the field at the same time. That was the plan last summer, after Miller was signed in free agency. But Carlson, a second-round draft choice in 2008, injured a shoulder early in training camp and spent the season on injured reserve. He then signed with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency this offseason.
Enter Winslow, with the same expectations. After all, he caught 218 passes for 2,377 yards and 12 touchdowns the past three seasons with the Bucs. The Seahawks valued Winslow, but not at the salary that came with him from Tampa. It is believed Winslow declined to reduce his salary, so the club released him.
Now what? The Seahawks still have Miller, and the coaches have been pleased with the more-consistent performance of third-year Anthony McCoy during training camp and the preseason. McCoy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, had six catches for a team-high 106 receiving yards during the just-concluded preseason.
“Anthony has been a really good prospect,” coach Pete Carroll said recently of the tight end he also coached at USC. “This was a great pick for us a couple years back. He’s really grown into a versatile tight end for us.
“He’s one of our best blockers. He’s not quite to Zach’s level, but he really does a great job on all the in-line blocking. He moves around well. He’s a great target to throw the ball to.”
McCoy’s problem in his first two seasons was dropped passes, but Carroll has seen a definite improvement this summer.
“He does have really good hands,” Carroll said. “There’s been times when he’s coming up, getting ready to play NFL football, that he hasn’t been able to keep his concentration that’s needed to catch the football.
“But he’s on it now. His attitude that he brings and his effort every day is just really, really positive. I’ve never seen him so full of spirit and the kind of mentality that he has. It’s infectious. He’s been a real good factor for us. I’m really excited for him.”
Winslow, meanwhile, caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown during the preseason and his practice time had to be monitored because of a chronic knee problem.