KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Kellen Winslow #82 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 24, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Patriots amass tight ends like kids in the '80s used to obsess over baseball cards (we know this because we have a basement full of boxes to prove it) and they have another name to add to the collection: former Browns first-rounder Kellen Winslow Jr. According to an ESPN report, the Pats have agreed to terms on a one-year deal. Presumably, the crossing the t's and dotting the i's will follow after Winslow successfully passes a physical, something he was unable to do the last time he visited New England two weeks ago.
Winslow arrives in Foxboro after stints in Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Seattle. The Seahawks traded for him in the spring but released him in the preseason because of his injury history and his relatively expensive contract. Still, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed out in May, there's plenty of upside left.
"He has an extraordinary catching range," Carroll said at the time, according to Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar. "He is doing a great job for us going with us right now. He's affected the way we think about the throwing game and he's affected the quarterbacks too because you can feel when he's on the field. If you throw it near him, he's going to catch it. That's that factor I'm talking about, it can happen with wide receivers. That's why I was so excited about Kellen coming in. That catching range, that expertise that some rare guys have, you want it when you can get it. I just want a little bit more."
The Pats obviously have a need a tight end now that Aaron Hernandez will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a right-ankle injury he sustained in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. And while Winslow has had to contend with a career marred by injuries, he's also athletic enough to help the team in the near term and possibly beyond.
Farrar wrote on Tuesday that Winslow could fit well with what the Patriots want to do offensively: "(He) was frequently set as a multi-spot target for the Seahawks, and there's no doubt he'll be tasked to do the same in a Patriots offense that uses tight ends more than just about any other in the NFL. Per Football Outsiders, New England ran offensive sets with two or more tight ends 74 percent of the time in 2011, which led the league."
Tom Brady may have lost his favorite target for the next month but this could be the latest opportunity for a veteran player to revitalize his career in New England.