NFLPA president Eric Winston is finally off of the free agent market, as an elite team has decided to end the conspiracy theory that nobody wants to sign Winston because of his role as the NFLPA’s leader. Per a league source closet to Pro Football Talk, the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have signed Winston to a one-year deal, and he has a great shot at winning the first ring of his career after spending six seasons with the Houston Texans and one season apiece with the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.
Winston’s deal comes after very little interest on the free agent market, as the Baltimore Ravens on-and-off-again interest in Winston seemed to be it. He had nice links with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and QBs coach Rick Dennison from their days together with the Texans, but Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens elected against giving him a deal. If signed, Winston would have immediately competed for the starting right tackle job with Ricky Wagner.
The Seahawks signing of Winston carries no risk as a one-year deal, and it’s another nice veteran pick-up for an organization that added oft-injured-but-talented cornerback Terrell Thomas yesterday. Seattle needed some tackle depth, and Winston is a quality, veteran body. I wouldn’t consider him a lock to make the roster due to the Seahawks affinity for veterans, but I think he’ll make it as the top backup to rising youngster Michael Bowie, who looked good at RT last season.
Winston gives the Seahawks a (likely) cheap, experienced insurance policy at tackle, and that’s something they need, especially with Russell Okung being an injury risk despite his amazing talent. Should Okung go down, the Seahawks could start Alvin Bailey or Bowie at LT and play Winston at RT, keep Winston as a backup with Bailey starting at LT, or simply insert Winston as the left tackle. With Winston, Pete Carroll has more options and a great voice in the locker room.