Brian Winters didn’t make his free agency process sound all that complicated.
The new Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman described it as “fairly smooth” and had some connections on the Cardinals that assured him the Valley was a good place to be.
The eight-year NFL veteran was teammates with Cardinals right tackle Kelvin Beachum and is buddies with left guard Justin Pugh.
When Winters was on the New York Jets with Beachum for three seasons from 2017-19, they spent a lot of time together on and off the field. The two talked in the last year after Beachum went to the Cardinals and Winters the Buffalo Bills.
Beachum told Winters nothing but good things during the season about how Arizona was as a franchise and said that it made his decision “very easy.”
“What they’re doing in this building and everything that’s going on with this organization I wanted to be a part of and I’m just excited to be here,” he said Tuesday.
Winters began his first two NFL seasons at left guard but has mostly been on the right side since. With Buffalo last season, he had 616 snaps at right guard, which is a spot that conveniently is the most open on the Cardinals offensive line.
He could be competing with Justin Murray for that starting position, but Winters wouldn’t get into what he was told about that.
“Just gonna come in here and compete and do whatever I can to help this team out however that is,” he said.
Whatever the case is, Winters as a guard on either side will be playing alongside mostly veterans. Winters joins center Rodney Hudson, Pugh and Beachum on being in the NFL since 2013, and left tackle D.J. Humphries just completed his fifth season.
That will make things easier.
“You don’t have to tell them as much,” Winters said. “It’s more so just involves knowing how to play with one another … I definitely think it’s a big plus having an older and experienced offensive line.”