The Kansas City Chiefs Wednesday released starting right tackle Eric Winston, possibly paving the way for them to use the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on an offensive tackle, either Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Could the New York Giants be among the suitors for the 29-year-old Winston, a seven-year veteran?
Right tackle is, as has often been discussed here, a huge question mark for the Giants right now. David Diehl is in the final year of his contract and could yet be a salary cap casualty. Sean Locklear is a free agent and is coming back from major knee surgery. James Brewer, entering his third season, played only 34 snaps on offense in 2012. Brandon Mosley spent his rookie season on injured reserve.
Here are some thoughts from Joel Thorman of Arrhowhead Pride, SB Nation's Chiefs' web site, about Winston:
Talent-wise, Winston would appear to be a fit for the Giants. In 1,204 snaps last season Pro Football Focus graded him at +13.2. He allowed only three sacks and a total of 34 pressures (sacks/hits/hurries combined). By contrast, Diehl allowed 30 pressures in only 487 snaps. Incidentally, Winston's +13.2 grade was his lowest PFF score since 2008.
The cost, however, might be prohibitive for the Giants. They have roughly $5.1 million to spend under the cap right now and would need to cut players or re-structure contracts to pursue a player like Winston, who seems likely to draw a lot of interest from around the league.
Dan Graziano of ESPN thinks the Giants -- and every team in the NFC East -- could use Winston:
Winston is better than David Diehl or James Brewer or Sean Locklear or whoever the Giants are currently planning to use on the right side. They won't overspend, but I'll bet they at least inquire about him.
Graziano is likely correct that Winston would be an upgrade for the Giants. The issue will be, however, that there will likely be teams able to outbid the Giants for Winston's services.