TAMPA FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Tight end Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tries to make this catch as defender Mike Adams #20 of the Cleveland Browns breaks up the play during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 12 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to trade Kellen Winslow, but they may find that easier said than done. While Winslow has been superficially productive the past few seasons, he has steadily declined as a relevant part of the offense. It was painfully obvious last season that he had lost the ability to stretch the field, and he wasn't anywhere near the pass-catching threat he used to be. There are good reasons why the Bucs may want to get rid of Winslow - but those very same reasons will make it very difficult for them to find a trading partner.
When the Bucs traded for Kellen Winslow in 2009, they gave up second- and fifth-round draft picks for him, and immediately made him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. It's extremely unlikely they'll be able to get that kind of haul for him at this point. In fact, I'd be surprised if they managed to get more than a seventh-round draft pick for Winslow. While there are a few teams out there who could use a player like Winslow, there aren't many who would be willing to take on his massive contract that contains cap hits of $4.5 million, $5.7 million and $6.7 million according to Spotrac.
For a comparable situation, look to Asante Samuel. The veteran cornerback had a massive contract and was a more productive player than Winslow in the first place, yet still gathered just a seventh-round pick in trade from the Atlanta Falcons. Old, injury-troubled players aren't exactly popular commodities in trade, and Winslow won't see an active market. The fact that every team knows the Bucs want to get rid of Winslow won't help, either: if Winslow isn't traded, he's likely to be cut - and any team could pick him up in free agency.
Although, there's one team that could at least push for him a little: the Carolina Panthers. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski coached Winslow at Miami University and with the Cleveland Browns. Their offense is built on tight ends, and they only have Greg Olsen as a productive tight end right now. James Dator over at Cat Scratch Reader seems to think the Panthers could make a move for him.
If the Bucs can't find a trade partner, they will almost certainly releasing Winslow. However, he may have made that difficult for them. While appearing on SiriusXM with Ross Tucker, Winslow said that the Bucs would look to get rid of him because of his absence in OTAs. "(Schiano) said he was kind of upset that I wasn't there working with the team in the offseason and for the first week of OTAs."
Those OTAs are, however, entirely voluntary. That means that the Bucs cannot release Winslow just because he missed a few voluntary workouts. That would be in violation of the CBA, and the Bucs could look forward to a grievance filed by the NFLPA. Of course, they could simply point to his price-tag and decreased productivity as the reason for his release and sidestep the issue. But given Winslow's comments, that could still come back to bite them.