It wasn't long ago that I wrote about how the Arizona Cardinals see free agent tackle Eric Winston as their backup plan for the position as the offseason moves on.
Based on a recent interview that Winston had with Arizona Republic columnist and local radio host Dan Bickley, that train of thought isn't blind speculation.
Winston, who started all 16 games in 2013 for Arizona at right tackle and has also started 119 straight games, still is unsigned, and there appears to be little interest from the Cardinals at this point. "It doesn't seem like anything is being done," he told Bickley. "I'd still love to come back to Arizona. I love the guys in the locker room, love the city, and I think the team will be really good with or without me. They're ready to have a special run out there."
As I have written before, I think the Cardinals will have interest in him only if they don't see what they want out of Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, Nate Potter or whatever draft pick or undrafted rookie they bring in during offseason workouts, OTAs and mini-camps.
Winston didn't sign with the Cardinals until the beginning of training camp last year.
He doesn't want to wait that long, as he told Bickley that, despite how much he would like to return in 2014 to the Cards, he would like to be picked up by a team soon, "hopefully before the draft."
Many veterans would be content to sit tight and not have to go to OTAs or mini-camp. Winston doesn't seem eager to do that. Based on his performance last season, that actually might not be a bad idea.
Coming into a new offensive system, he struggled early, but improved later in the year.
Perhaps being with a team the entire offseason would mitigate those early struggles.
Unfortunately, there haven't even been any whisperings of interest.
That doesn't mean that he is done with football. It just means that he might have to wait until a spot opens up on some team because of injury or ineffectiveness.
Winston has a track record and a reputation in the league. He is well-respected. However, he is now going on three teams that were okay with moving on from him -- the Texans and Chiefs both having cut him the previous two offseasons. And there is something to be said about the Cardinals not wanting to bring back a player on the offensive line. Arizona historically has had bad lines. If they let a player go, that says something.
Chances are that he will land somewhere and will continue to add to his streak of starting games. He isn't the only veteran offensive lineman still available.
Will he have to just bide his time? Will he find work, and will he be a starter?
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