KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Winston usually gets about 50 mentions on his Twitter feed after a game. When he visited the Kansas City Chiefs during the start of free agency, the veteran right tackle got hundreds of them from random fans trying to court him.
"I loved it. I thought it was really cool," Winston said. "I thought it was great they were so into it. They knew everything was going on; they knew who I was. They knew what I could do. It was just another piece of the puzzle."
All the pieces added up to a $22 million, four-year deal.
On the same day word spread that Winston had agreed to terms, the Chiefs announced that they had signed former first-round draft pick Brady Quinn to back up Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Winston will take over at right tackle for Barry Richardson, who struggled mightily last year and became a free agent. Winston helped Houston become the NFL's second-leading rushing team.
"We are very happy to add a quality right tackle like Eric to our team," Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. "He is a smart lineman who is going to bring passion, intelligence and toughness to our offence."
Winston was in the fourth year of a $30 million, five-year deal when he was cut by the Texans to save salary cap space. He also visited the Miami Dolphins.
Turned out that Kansas City was the most aggressive.
"They did so much more than any other organization," Winston said. "Most organizations the GM calls and says, 'Hey, we're excited to have you,' or the coach calls and says, 'We're excited."'
Instead, Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel logged multiple calls, along with new offensive co-ordinator Brian Daboll. The Chiefs may have ultimately sealed the deal when they took Winston to an upscale barbecue joint, which left such an impression that Winston tweeted about it.
Winston said he was not very familiar with the Chiefs. He's bumped into Cassel a couple times, and he knows running back Jamaal Charles by reputation.
"To be honest, Kansas City wasn't somewhere that if I had to pick off the top of my head, 'Where would you want to go?' Kansas City wasn't that place," Winston said.
"It was just choosing the right situation for me and my family," he said. "Tell you the truth, I thought it was more of a rust-belt city, but when you get there, it's far from it."
Quinn started 12 games over three seasons with Cleveland, where Crennel once served as the head coach and Daboll was the offensive co-ordinator.
The former Notre Dame star completed 52 per cent of his passes for 1,902 yards and 10 touchdowns with nine interceptions in Cleveland. He spent last season as a backup in Denver.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back to playing under Romeo," Quinn said of why he chose the Chiefs. "I think he's a smart choice. I think he definitely knows how to take care of players and put us in the best possible position to win."
That familiarity is the biggest reason Quinn said he turned down a more lucrative offer from the Broncos to sign with the Chiefs. He also alluded to Denver's courtship of Peyton Manning.
"If you look at the Denver situation, there's a lot of unknowns," he said. "It's a great organization, having been a part of it for two years and all that, but I felt like for me personally, it was a better situation to go to Kansas City."
Quinn said that he'd been told Cassel was the starting quarterback, but Pioli and Crennel have both said they want the incumbent to experience a challenge in training camp.
"Obviously there is going to be competition, like there should be on every team in every room," Quinn said. "Competition makes everyone better. That's just how the league is."