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Eric Winston rumors: Could the New York Giants be among his suitors?

The New York Giants have questions at right tackle. The Kansas City Chiefs just released a good one in Eric Winston. Should the Giants pursue Winston?

Eric Winston
Eric Winston

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:

"Eric Winston came to Kansas City with high expectations as many considered him to be a top five right tackle. While he wasn't elite in 2012, he was good enough. Pro Football Focus graded him out as the No. 9 right tackle in the NFL. I had minor quips with Winston's play but nothing significant. He was solid and certainly an upgrade for the Chiefs. I'm not sure they will find someone to top him. Most Chiefs fans were surprised by his release. We didn't see it coming.

"The response from Chiefs fans is split down the middle, partially due to a number of fans still upset at Winston for calling out the fan base in the wake of the Matt Cassel injury last year. So, for some Chiefs fans, this is personal. But as far as Winston's play on the field, he's a good run blocker who fits best in a zone blocking scheme. There are some wondering if he was hurt, thus the release from Kansas City, but I can't say that for sure."

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.