Free-agent tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. is visiting the Patriots today, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
ESPN.com AFC East reporter James Walker reports that a one-year contract agreement is in the cards (link here).
The Patriots' interest in Winslow is tied to the health of tight end Aaron Hernandez, who injured his right ankle on the third play of Sunday's home opener, a 20-18 loss to the Cardinals. Winslow previously visited with the team on Sept. 5 and passed a physical at that time, according to Schefter.
Winslow has averaged 73 receptions and 792.3 receiving yards the past three seasons.
Some quick-hit analysis:
The Patriots are committed to having their offense run through the tight end position, as they ran every snap in the season-opener at Tennessee with two or more tight ends on the field. They became just the second team since 2008 to run every play of a game with two or more tight ends.
Yet when Hernandez went out on Sunday, the Patriots shifted to more of a three-receiver attack, running only 19 of their final 79 snaps with two or more tight ends on the field.
A potential Winslow signing would help the Patriots stick with their preferred option of the multiple tight end offense as Hernandez recovers (at least one month, according to Schefter), which they believe creates favorable matchups and better balance between the run and pass. It would also be tied to the health of veteran backup Daniel Fells, who has missed the first two games with a shin injury, and the performance of Fells' replacement, Michael Hoomanawanui (who was signed Sept. 5).
The Patriots would need to make a corresponding roster move to create room for Winslow.