The team had not announced the move, but Winston said on Twitter: ”Just wanted to confirm that I have been released.” Winston went on to say that although he had a difficult season, ”I wouldn’t trade the relationships I made in KC and the overall experience I had for anything.”
Winston signed a four-year, $22 million deal last offseason, but he struggled early in the year and then ran afoul of some fans after he criticized a small percentage for cheering when embattled quarterback Matt Cassel sustained a head injury during a game.
“Just wanted to confirm that I have been released,” he wrote. “Even though it was an incredibly tough year on and off the field last year, I wouldn’t trade the relationships I made in KC and the overall experience I had for anything. It was an honor to be a Chief and I wish them nothing but the best in the future. … On to the next adventure!”
While Winston was tweeting out his classy goodbye, newly tagged left tackle Branden Albert was venting on his Twitter page about a potential position switch. When asked by one of his followers if he saw himself strictly as a left tackle, Albert replied, “You damn right.”
Albert, who received the franchise tag this week, was then asked by one of his followers if he’d move to right tackle to make room for Joeckel as the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft.
“Nope,” Albert replied.
Albert has also said he doesn’t want to move inside to guard. Perhaps the Chiefs project Joeckel as a right tackle for now.
Either way, Winston isn’t in their plans after signing a four-year, $22 million deal last year. Winston received only $9.3 million over one season.
Dorsey said in a phone interview with The Associated Press late Wednesday that the decision to sign wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt to long-term deals, and place the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert, are all part of a plan he set out upon his arrival.
“We have some talented players on this roster,” Dorsey said. “We’ve been able to retain them because it made sense from an organizational perspective. This was the way we felt it made sense to move forward to the next phase of the plan.”
Dorsey wouldn’t discuss the next phase of the plan, of course.
Bowe was given a five-year deal for $56 million, according to USA Today, that has $26 million guaranteed.
The Bowe deal allowed Dorsey to then put the franchise tag on Albert, who is signed for next season at just under $10 million.
Hunt also approved the signing of Colquitt, who will become the highest-paid punter in football at $18.75 million, with $8.9 million guaranteed.
And the Bowe-Albert deals allow the Chiefs to get better through the draft as well. The Chiefs now do not have to take a left tackle with the first overall pick, and could, in theory, plug yet another hole on the team with a ready-now No. 1 pick.
The Chiefs, like the Royals, are not acting like they’re in rebuilding mode.
“Andy and John both believe we have the talent to win now,” Hunt said recently. “It’s our job to provide the resources to continue to make that possible. We’re excited about the future, about next season.”