Eric Winston wasn't expecting to be a free agent in 2013 after signing a long-term deal with the Kansas City Chiefs last summer, but he is now on the market after the team released the right tackle on Wednesday. Winston's cap number was expected to escalate from $2.5 million to $6.5 million this season, prompting the Chiefs to let him go.
Winston has been as reliable as they come since becoming a full-time starter with the Houston Texans in 2006. He has started every game for the past six seasons, including all 16 during his lone season with the Chiefs.
This is the second-consecutive March that Winston has been released. The Texans let him go him last year after six seasons with the team. Houston was Winston's original employer. The franchise selected him out of Miami (Fla.) in third round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
As for Winston's next stop, he could return to his homestate of Texas. ESPN's Dan Graziano points out that the Cowboys would be a good fit. Dallas is looking for a new right tackle and Winston has proven himself to be a solid starter for many years.
The Redskins also have a connection to Winston. Marke Maske of The Washington Post suggests that Washington could pursue the tackle on the free-agent market. Winston played under current Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Houston, so the transition could go much smoother.
This should be a buyer's marker for tackles, so the timing of Winston's release is not ideal for the player. There are plenty of talented free agents available at the position, which could drive down the price. Even with the saturated market, Winston should draw plenty of interest. Veteran tackles with a track record of reliability are a commodity.
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