Chase Winovich is headed to Cleveland after three seasons in New England. The Patriots are trading the embattled linebacker to the Browns in a player-for-player swap, getting back former Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network was first to report the news.
One year after playing all 16 games and 591 defensive snaps (58 percent) in 2020, Winovich’s workload plummeted to 113 snaps (14 percent) in 13 games in 2021. He was a healthy scratch for the Patriots’ season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round, which was a bad sign for his future in Foxboro.
Wilson, meanwhile, has seen his snap count drop in each season since being drafted to the Browns in the fifth round out of Alabama, in the same draft class (2019) as Winovich. He played nearly as many special teams snaps (180) as defensive snaps (194) for Cleveland in 2021.
It’s unclear how Bill Belichick envisions Wilson on the Patriots, but at 6-foot-1 and 233 pounds, he doesn’t fit the team’s typical profile at linebacker. If he sees the field on defense, it’ll likely be in an off-the-ball role.
The addition of Wilson, along with Josh Uche and Cameron McGrone on the depth chart, could signify an evolution at the position in New England. They also still have Matthew Judon, Raekwon McMillan, and Jahlani Tavai. Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley are set to officially become free agents on Wednesday.
Read more about the start of the legal tampering period in NFL free agency, along with other news from across the league, below in the official Sports Hub Free Agent Tracker.
Chase Winovich #50 of the New England Patriots looks on during the game against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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