The Seahawks released former Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow before he played a regular-season game for the team.
Kellen Winslow caught more passes over the previous five seasons than all but two tight ends in the NFL.
He got dropped Saturday, though, as the Seahawks released the former Pro Bowl tight end before he played a regular-season game for the team.
Seattle acquired Winslow in May from Tampa Bay, giving up what was believed to be a seventh-round pick for the tight end who was productive but also had a balky knee.
The release of Winslow came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn. That salary may have been a point of discussion for months now.
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Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. Moore is 6 feet 6 and caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.
While the release of Winslow wasn’t quite a bombshell, it certainly constituted a surprise coming one day after Seattle trimmed its roster to 53 players. Seahawks officials were not available to comment on Winslow’s release, and the player could not be reached.
Winslow was expected to be Seattle’s No. 2 tight end, a receiving threat to pair with starter Zach Miller when the Seahawks deploy two tight ends, a staple in this year’s offense.
Winslow played in each of the final three exhibition games, but was not able to practice daily. Once the regular season began, his regimen of work between games would have been limited.
Anthony McCoy, a third-year tight end from USC, took a major step forward this August, leading the Seahawks in receiving yardage during the exhibition games after being plagued by drops his first two seasons.
Seattle has made a habit of making changes in the week leading up to the first game. Two years ago, the Seahawks added six players to the roster in the week before the regular-season opener. Last year, three players were added the day after Seattle first trimmed its roster to the 53-man limit.
But those moves usually involved players at the lowest rung of the roster. Winslow was different. This was a player expected to be a contributor, and for all the concern about his knee, he averaged more than 70 catches during his three seasons in Tampa Bay.
Moore has caught 62 passes in his three years in the NFL, and while he’s a player general manager John Schneider is high on, he might not be the last player Seattle adds before the regular season begins.
Quarterback Josh Portis and linebacker Korey Toomer are among the eight players Seattle is expected to sign to its practice squad after the pair cleared waivers.
Portis made Seattle’s team last year as an undrafted rookie, spending the year as the No. 3 quarterback. He was waived Friday as the team appears ready to head into the season with Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn the only quarterbacks on the roster.
Toomer was the only one of Seattle’s 10 draft picks not to make the team. A linebacker from Idaho, he is a great combination of size and speed, and he will have a chance to develop.
Others who will be added to the practice squad: receiver Ricardo Lockette, offensive tackle Edawn Coughman and tight end Sean McGrath. The team won’t announced the eight-man practice squad until all contracts are finalized.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil