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Tampa Bay Buccaneers extend Kellen Winslow's deal, richest for NFL tight end

Kellen Winslow, acquired from the Browns in the offseason, catches a pass on the first day of Bucs minicamp in March.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Kellen Winslow, acquired from the Browns in the offseason, catches a pass on the first day of Bucs minicamp in March.

TAMPA — The Bucs have seen enough of Kellen Winslow to know they would like to see him wearing their uniform for many years to come.

Five weeks after the Bucs traded a second-round pick to the Browns in 2009 and a fifth-rounder in 2010 for Winslow, he agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract that includes $20.1 million in guarantees — the richest deal for a tight end in NFL history.

With incentives, the pact could be worth as much as $42.1 million, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus. News of the agreement was first reported on ESPN.com and later confirmed by the Bucs.

Before the extension, Winslow had two years remaining on his contract that would've paid him $4.5 million in 2009 and $4.75 million in 2010.

Signing Winslow, 25, to an extension was not a condition of the trade, but rather what the Bucs viewed as an opportunity to lock up one of the league's best young tight ends rather than lose him to free agency after two seasons.

"We made the trade with the future in mind," general manager Mark Dominik said Monday. "We consider Kellen a leader on the football team and when you trade away multiple draft picks, you obviously want the player for the long haul. Kellen has demonstrated he's very excited about being part of our community and part of the Bucs. We're excited to have him."

Winslow only participated in the first day of a three-day, voluntary minicamp last week.

A Pro Bowl player for the Browns who ranks third among tight ends and fourth in yards since 2006, Winslow overcame a tumultuous start to his career. He missed 14 games as a rookie and suffered a torn ACL and internal injuries from a motorcycle accident before the 2005 season. He also had two staph infections as a result of surgeries on his knee since 2005.

But it was a high ankle injury — and not a issue with his knee — that prevented Winslow from playing in six games last season.

Despite the injuries, he has averaged five catches for 55.9 yards per game in his brief career. After just one day of practice last week, offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was impressed by the mismatches he can create.

"Kellen does some things with matchups I think that we can get that are really going to benefit us this year," Jagodzinski said. "We can put him in different spots and move him around to get the matchup that we want. He can get in and out of a cut like a receiver, now. He's good. He's really good. I'm really looking forward to working with him and he's been great.

"I came off the field and said, 'Man, we've got something good with him.' "

Tampa Bay Buccaneers extend Kellen Winslow's deal, richest for NFL tight end 04/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 8:11am]
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