I'm here to tell you that he doesn't owe the Browns anything. Sure, they honored his contract and worked with him so he got paid $11.6 million during the time he was out, but what was the alternative? Cutting him, maybe going after his money, and losing the most talented tight end in the NFL. If they had done that, you know who the current Browns tight end would be? Well, neither do I, but it certainly wouldn't be Winslow (perhaps Chad Mustard if he couldn't cut it with the Omaha Beef). The Browns didn't do it out of charity. They recognized the kind of game-changing player Winslow could be and didn't want him to end up somewhere else.
Is there anyone you would rather have on our team as TE? Me neither. I mean, honestly, if we needed a sack on defense on one play, I would probably put kam wimbley out there, but aside from him, my second choice would be Winslow. He has the kind of intensity and competitive nature that can help make his teammates better and his team great.
I'm not going to tell you that they should definitely re-do his contract right now, but the outrage over his comments is ridiculous. He is a little underpaid for what he brings to the table. If it were me, I'd at least explore the opportunity to give him some bonus money now and tie him up with a backloaded contract. His agent will be happy because he can brag about a big deal, but NFL deals aren't guaranteed so he may never see years 5 and 6 of the deal. I'd do the same with Braylon (though that is another column). With our line and those two weapons, our offense will be formidable for many years to come, no matter who is goosing Hank Fraley and taking the snaps.
The Browns are flush with cap space. I know, the average fan will tell me that they really need to fix the defense with that money, which is true. But it is not as if we need a complete personnel overhaul of the defense this offseason. (though the potential loss of Simon Fraser is heartbreaking...see "shart" column by the Bird, below). There are some pieces in place. We just need to add a couple key parts, which will lift the performance of some current pieces.
While we all would have preferred Winslow went to the Browns privately to express his desires, rather than popping off on the radio, don't just dismiss this as the ridiculous rants of "The Solider." Think a little more on it and I think you'll agree, it sure beats the hell out of returing to the Irv Smith era!