Chiefs release Eric Winston

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When Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston recently lamented the looming departure of quarterback Matt Cassel, we suggested that Winston could still suffer the same fate.

And now he is.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Chiefs are releasing Winston.  He’ll hit the free agent market immediately, a few days before it opens.

Winston was due to earn a base salary of $4.9 million in 2013, along with $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a $100,000 workout bonus.  He signed with the Chiefs after being cut last year by the Texans.

Because he received an $4 million signing bonus, the acceleration results in a $3 million million cap charge.  That’s still $2.5 million lower than it would have been if Winston had stayed — and also $5.5 million cheaper.

With a $4 million signing bonus and a $900,000 salary in 2012, Winston earned $4.9 million in one year with the Chiefs.

The move gives the Chiefs the flexibility to take Luke Joeckel with the first pick in the 2013 draft, and then to move Joeckel or Branden Albert to the right side.