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Off. Tackle Eric Winston To Meet With Fins

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HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans locks up with defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – SEPTEMBER 26: Tackle Eric Winston #73 of the Houston Texans locks up with defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While most of the focus for the Miami Dolphins has been on free agent quarterback Peyton Manning; a player who just became a free agent Monday could be the answer to a long festering problem for the Dolphins.

Free agent right tackle Eric Winston will meet with the Dolphins about joining the team in the coming days.

Winston, who had been a staple on the right side of the Houston Texans’ offensive line, was released Monday for salary cap purposes.

“Basically, they told me they were up against it (the salary cap) and didn’t want to insult me by asking me to take a pay cut,” Winston told the Houston Chronicle.

Winston, a third-round pick in 2006 out of the University of Miami, is now free to sign with any team he pleases starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

It just so happens that the Miami Dolphins have a gaping hole on the right side of the offensive line, specifically right tackle. Last year, the Fins tried to get another year out of Marc Colombo, but he spent most of the year watching opponents run past him to the quarterback.

Acquiring a player like Winston, who already likes the area, would free the Dolphins up to draft another guard or a pass rusher in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. But, it would cost the Dolphins a decent chunk of their roughly $13.8 million in salary cap space for 2012.

The Dolphins current salary cap space is before any other players are asked to restructure contracts or players are cut, which could free up a lot more cap space for the Fins as free agency gets rolling.

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