Kellen Winslow Jr. signing could be steal of offseason for Jets

Kellen Winslow Jr.'s last successful season came in 2011 with Tampa Bay when he had 75 catches. Credit: Getty Images
Kellen Winslow Jr.’s last successful season came in 2011 with Tampa Bay when he had 75 catches.
Credit: Getty Images

It took until minicamp for the Jets to add a veteran tight end but last week’s signing of Kellen Winslow Jr. could be one of the team’s biggest moves of the offseason to date.

Earlier this offseason, the Jets lost veteran Dustin Keller, a favorite target of quarterback Mark Sanchez over the past few years. The move to cut ties with Keller was done as part of the purge by new general manager John Idzik, who trimmed the fat on the roster and Keller, who underperformed at times and was a suspect blocker, fell into that category.

Under Idzik, the Jets are trying to shed the label of being a circus. In his first interview since signing with the Jets last week, Winslow Jr. told Metro New York he wasn’t scared off by that perception. Instead, he cites head coach Rex Ryan as a big reason why he signed with the Jets.

“You see what’s on the internet and stuff like that and see what’s on TV. They’re just getting picked on I guess,” Winslow Jr. said. “Sometimes teams get the blame and there’s not much you can do about it. It didn’t scare me off at all. I love Rex.”

His contract with the team is a one-year deal, per a team source.

Minicamp ended for the Jets last Thursday and Winslow Jr. spent that night in New Jersey. The next day he went through a physical and blood work before signing with the team.

It was an impressive three days at minicamp for Winslow Jr., especially considering he played just one game last year in New England due to injuries. He came into minicamp without the benefit of offseason conditioning or even organized team activities (OTAs). He looked explosive and made a number of catches in drills and during the team portions of minicamp.

Recently, Winslow Jr. has taken up cycling and plans on upping his mileage in order to get into better shape for training camp in late July. In addition, he will be sprinting more as part of his workout routine.

He also was invited and will attend the Jets West camp being run by Sanchez in California in a couple of weeks.

“Well, I just see the kind of presence he has. We threw him some things in the red zone,” Ryan said during minicamp. “We do different things like that. He’s still a very athletic guy. How many catches he had specifically, I’m not sure. But you certainly feel his presence.”

Since being the No. 6 selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, Winslow Jr. has been with four teams before coming to the Jets. Five times in his career he’s had 60 or more receptions in a season and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007. Blocking is not his strong suit, but he is someone who can stretch the field and go over the middle for a tough catch, an ideal fit for the Jets as they install the West Coast offense this year.

Jets nose tackle Antonio Garay was with the Browns during the tight end’s rookie season and he said during minicamp that even though Winslow Jr. was a first-year player, he was impressed with his dedication.

“There’s one thing I remember, he was always on that Jugs Machine, catching balls,” Garay said. “He was always on it, making catches. I still remember that, the amount of time he spent on there trying to get better.”

Winslow Jr. was a part of last week’s minicamp as a tryout player but he showed enough to earn a contract with the Jets, solidifying a position of need. It was an under-the-radar move by the team and one that can help boost what looked in minicamp to be an underwhelming passing attack.

He’s not in football shape yet, but he’s closing in on it.

“Not yet. I guess for minicamps and OTAs and that sort of stuff, yeah — but not even close,” Winslow Jr. said. “That’s why you have to keep training and get ready for training camp. Once you put the pads on, it’s a whole different game. But 7-on-7 and stuff like that, yeah, it felt good.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for more offseason news.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…