Brian Winters

Cardinals Release G Brian Winters

In finalizing their Week 3 roster, the Cardinals moved Brian Winters off the squad. They released the veteran guard Saturday.

Winters agreed to terms with the Cards this offseason, heading to the desert after a lengthy New York tenure. The Jets released Winters last year, leading him to the Bills on a one-year contract. Winters signed with the Cardinals on a one-year veteran-minimum deal.

A longtime Jets starter, Winters worked as a part-time starter with the Bills last year. In two Cardinals contests, however, he has not seen much action. Arizona has used Justin Pugh and 2020 draftee Josh Jones as its starting guards. Winters has totaled 16 offensive snaps in the Cards’ two games.

Winters, 30, could potentially stick around with the team on a practice squad agreement, with up to six vested veterans eligible for taxi squads. But he is back in free agency for the time being.

The Cardinals also promoted two offensive linemen — Sean Harlow and Koda Martin — from their practice squad. They cleared the other roster spot by placing offensive lineman Josh Miles on IR. Arizona elevated safety Chris Banjo and cornerback Antonio Hamilton to its active roster as well.

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Cardinals To Sign Brian Winters

The Cardinals have agreed to sign offensive lineman Brian Winters. Meanwhile, they’ve also re-upped backup lineman Max Garcia

Winters joined the Bills last year after a number of seasons as the Jets’ starting right guard. In Buffalo, he played in all 16 games, including nine starts at RG. Now, he’s ticketed for a competition with incumbent Justin Murray and 2020 third-round pick Josh Jones.

The Cardinals have reshaped their offensive line in recent days by trading for Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson. They’ve also re-upped right tackle Kelvin Beachum in an effort to give Kyler Murray better protection up front. There’s still plenty of time to go between now and the start of the 2021 season, but the Cards’ starting OL currently projects to include D.J. Humphries at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Hudson at center, Winters at right guard, and Kelvin Beachum at right tackle.

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Bills Sign OL Brian Winters

It didn’t take long for Brian Winters to find a new gig. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the veteran offensive lineman has signed with the Bills. He’ll receive a one-year deal worth $3MM, including $2MM guaranteed.

Winters joins Buffalo after getting surprisingly cut by the rival Jets yesterday. The veteran had been the Jets’ starting right guard since 2013, but it was clear that Greg Van Roten had the inside track at the starting job. In an act of good faith, the Jets let go of Winters so he could find a starting gig elsewhere (as ESPN’s Rich Cimini passed along yesterday). Of course, the move also cleared more than $7MM on the Jets’ books.

Winters will have a good chance to start in Buffalo, especially following news that Jon Feliciano has been sidelined with a pectoral tear. Winters was limited to only nine games last season after suffering a shoulder injury, but he averaged 14.5 games per season between 2015 and 2018. While Buffalo could turn to the likes of Spencer Long or Daryl Williams to fill in for Feliciano, Winters’ experience and dependability will likely earn him the bulk of playing time.

Feliciano suffered a torn pectoral muscle and underwent surgery Friday, the team announced. Feliciano started in all 17 Bills games for the Bills last season. The former fourth-round pick will be a free agent in 2021.

Rapoport notes that Winters had a number of suitors, but the Bills moved quickly to sign the 29-year-old.

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Jets To Release Brian Winters

The Jets will release guard Brian Winters, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. By cutting Winters, the Jets will save $7.2MM against the cap with no dead money left over. 

Winters has served as the Jets’ starting right guard since 2013, but the front office was not quite sold on him. Instead, new addition Greg Van Roten figures to take his place on the team’s revamped offensive line.

Winters, 29, was the lone holdover from the Nick MangoldD’Brickashaw Ferguson era of the Jets’ front five, and the only O-lineman left from last year’s Week 1 starting lineup. This year’s starting lineup will feature first-round pick Mekhi Becton, left guard Alex Lewis, center Connor McGovern, Van Roten at right guard, and George Fant/Chuma Edoga at right tackle.

Winters survived three Jets regimes, starting in 79 games since he was selected in the third-round of the 2013 draft. Last year, a shoulder injury limited him to just nine games, but he’s healthy and ready to go for the upcoming season.

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Jets Notes: Gase, Douglas, OL

Is Adam Gase already on the hot seat? It would be tough for owner Woody Johnson to retain the second-year head coach if the Jets complete their tenth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, Manish Mehta of the Daily News opines. The Jets are obviously fond of Gase, but Mehta believes that Johnson – who will return to his New York area home later this year – wouldn’t be able to ignore the cries for a coaching change if the Jets finish 6-10.

More on Gang Green:

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tua, Fitz, Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick is “really excited” to have Tua Tagovailoa in the Dolphins‘ locker room, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. He gushed about the Alabama product in a chat with former Bills teammate Eric Woods, though he’s not quite ready to pass the torch as the team’s starting quarterback.

I also want to be out there playing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also want to be on the field. And that’s why I’m still doing it, because I still enjoy playing the gameHopefully some of the lessons I’m able to teach him are from him watching me play. But if it’s the other way around, I’m going to do my best to help him succeed in the best way he can.”

Ultimately, the Dolphins will do what’s best for business, but Fitzpatrick may have a leg up on the rookie, thanks to his relationship with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Chan and I have worked together for three years … He’s the guy who has given me the longest leash in my career in terms of being able to do things,” Fitzpatrick said. “And I trust him completely, and he has ultimate trust in me as well. This will be a little bit different in that if I’m out there playing there’s going to be a little bit longer leash because of the history we have together.”

Here’s more from the AFC East:

AFC East Notes: Tua, Pats, Diggs

Though Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa has most commonly been connected to the division-rival Dolphins, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the stars are aligning for the Patriots to make a play for the southpaw passer. The Lions — and all of their New England connections — hold the No. 3 overall pick and will have a major impact on how the quarterback dominoes fall in this year’s draft. If Detroit trades down, as many expect, Volin suggests that New England’s No. 23 overall pick along with a mid-rounder and a veteran player like Julian Edelman could be enough to get a deal done. The Patriots’ ties with Alabama head coach Nick Saban would also help give the team a little more insight into Tagovailoa as a player and as a person.

Let’s round up a few more AFC East rumors on another stay-at-home Sunday:

  • Volin’s proposal may be a little far-fetched, but if Tagovailoa starts to slide on draft day — after all, the Dolphins may not be entirely sold on him, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says the 2018 Heisman runner-up is the No. 3 or 4 QB on some teams’ boards even if he is completely healthy — then the Patriots could be in play, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com.
  • One way or another, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the Patriots will draft a rookie signal-caller. While he does not rule out a dramatic move for a player like Tagovailoa, he also says the team could once again target a mid-round prospect and is eyeing FIU passer James Morgan.
  • WR Stefon Diggs sounded like a man who wanted out of Minnesota for awhile, and he finally got his wish when he got traded to the Bills in March. However, his displeasure with the Vikings had more to do with his role in the offense than his contract; he signed a five-year, $72MM extension last summer, and he still has another four years to go on that pact. Still, the contract looks fairly team-friendly in the current market, so Buffalo GM Brandon Beane was recently asked if Diggs is content with his deal. Beane side-stepped the issue, saying simply that Diggs is “happy to be in Buffalo” (Twitter link via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News). It would indeed be rather surprising to see the Bills rework a contract that has four years remaining.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com confirms that Jets guard Brian Winters, who was presumed to be a cap casualty not that long ago, will remain with the Jets and will compete for a job in training camp. Cimini says that if Winters does not win a starting role, he will likely be asked to take a pay cut.

Jets To Keep G Brian Winters?

Rumored as a release candidate for months, Brian Winters remains a Jet. And the team’s longest-tenured offensive line starter looks to have a path to return.

Amid an offseason of significant change on the Jets’ O-line, GM Joe Douglas pointed to Winters being back to compete for a starting job up front. Winters, 28, has been a Jets starting guard since 2013. He’s not only the lone holdover from the Nick MangoldD’Brickashaw Ferguson lines; he is the only O-lineman left from last year’s Week 1 starting lineup.

We love his competitiveness and toughness,” Douglas said, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter). “We should have a really good competition for our offensive line.”

The Jets would save $7.2MM by releasing their starting right guard and incur no dead money in doing so. So it should not be a given Winters will return. Gang Green added players at other positions, signing tackle George Fant and center Connor McGovern. The Jets also re-signed Alex Lewis, who spent 2019 at left guard, and inked former Panthers guard Greg Van Roten.

In Lewis, Van Roten and Winters, the Jets would have three starter-caliber guards — two of which arriving under the Douglas regime. Winters has been with the Jets through three regimes now. He has started 79 games since being a 2013 third-round Jets pick. Talk of a Winters release began to emerge after he went down with a season-ending dislocated shoulder. But three weeks into free agency, he remains with the Jets.

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Jets Targeting Pass Rushers

The Jets are seeking some pass-rush help, and they’re eyeing some of the top names on the market. Sources tell Connor Hughes of The Athletic that “the Jets are doing their homework on Jadeveon Clowney” and are among the teams “in on him.” The Jets are also planning to “actively pursue” Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler.

The team could alternatively look to the trade market for help. Hughes writes that the Jets are expected to make a call on Ravens defensive end Matt Judon, who is expected to receive the franchise tag after finishing 2019 with a career-high 9.5 sacks. However, Hughes cautions that the organization may be wary to give up too much draft capital, especially when they’re looking to fill holes via the draft.

Hughes also expects the Jets to be in on a number of offensive lineman, including Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow. We heard yesterday that the organization was planning on pursuing Redskins lineman Trent Williams. The front office could even pursue cornerback James Bradberry, according to the writer.

The Jets will have a whole lot of money to throw at a pass-rusher, as they’re currently sitting with more than $60MM in projected cap space. Hughes notes that the organization could easily move on from the likes of cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, lineman Brian Winters, and others, which would open up an additional $20MM to $27MM in cap space.

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AFC East Notes: Brady, Winters, Brown

Tom Brady‘s impending unrestricted free agency will be the largest story of the offseason. It remains unclear whether he will be returning to the Patriots or looking for a new home outside of New England. One important element of negotiations revolves around Brady’s relationship with owner Robert Kraft.

A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he “wonders” if Kraft will instruct head coach and president Bill Belichick to do whatever is necessary to keep Brady in a Pats uniform. While little is known about Brady’s own preferences, the power dynamics within the organization itself could very well play a role as well.

  • Many expect Jets guard Brian Winters to be released to make $7MM in salary cap space, but Rich Cimini of ESPN notes that the organization might want to find a way to retain the guard at a reduced salary through a restructure. Winters, a seven-year veteran, has spent his entire career with the Jets and started 9 games for the team last season.
  • Former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown appears to be taking a larger role on the team’s coaching staff, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Reiss noted that Brown, who has been on the Pats coaching staff in a limited capacity, was involved in meetings with prospects at the scouting combine.