Eric Winston rumors: Dolphins contact free agent tackle

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Dolphins will likely have to add to their offensive line this offseason. A deal is far from done, but right tackle Eric Winston has been contacted by Miami.

Eric Winston was a standout offensive lineman in college playing for the Miami Hurricanes. Now a free agent, Winston may be headed back to South Beach, as the Dolphins reportedly have contacted the right tackle, according to Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post.

The Kansas City Chiefs released Winston last week in order to save cap space. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said a deal between the two sides is not close at this point, but the interest is there. Miami is focusing on re-signing left tackle Jake Long first.

Long's play has been in decline as of late, which may be due to several injuries he's suffered over the past few seasons. Long was placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn triceps last December against the Patriots. He recently met with the Dolphins medical staff to examine progress in recovery.

Winston's potential in Miami is directly tied to Long now. If Long finds a new team in free agency, Winston can be signed to start right away at right tackle. Jonathan Martin would then slide over to left tackle. Martin filled in at left tackle last season after Long hit IR, and he also started 37 games in that position at Stanford.

A knowledge of zone blocking schemes would make an easy transition for Winston with the Dolphins. He played under that system during his tenure in Houston.

Long may draw plenty of interest on the market, but could choose to return to Miami if he doesn't find the pricey payday he's looking for. Winston remains one of the better right tackles in the league. He will have multiple suitors once free agency officially begins Tuesday afternoon.

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