Sixteen months ago, Eric Winston had just signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last season, Winston had a solid year for Kansas City, starting all 16 games at right tackle.
But the Chiefs, armed with the number one pick in the draft, opted to cut the seven-year veteran and select offensive tackle Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan.
After four months on the market, Winston signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals and took the field with his new team for the first time Friday in Glendale.
Winston is taking the frustrating free agency period with a grain of salt.
“I think anytime you ‘don’t get what you want,’ you’re going to be disappointed,” he said. “It is what it is. I think if you dwell on that too long, you’re just going to stay in a perpetual state of disappointment.
“What happened happened and I’m here now and it’s time to go have some fun.”
Bleacher Report ranked Winston as the third-best right tackle in football in 2012, so his release from Kansas City was surprising. But the length of time that he remained on the market may have been more surprising.
“Obviously things didn’t fall the way I would have liked them to fall,” he said. “That’s the way it goes. Life goes on and it’s time to play football.”
So, why Arizona? Other teams such as Dallas, Miami, San Diego and Tennessee have all at least showed marginal interest in Winston in recent months.
“I think it’s kind of a sleeper team in a way,” Winston said. “I looked at this squad, and I thought it was a good fit. And they wanted me, more than anything. I think you want to go somwhere you’re wanted.
“They wanted me to be on the team and so I feel like there’s a good chance for me.”