The New England Patriots are swapping edge rusher Chase Winovich for Browns linebacker Mack Wilson, according to a number of reports. Here are three thoughts on the Pats’ trade with Cleveland.

It was obvious there wasn’t much interest

It wasn’t all that surprising that the Patriots moved Winovich, as the 26-year-old was benched in New England’s Week 18 loss to the Dolphins and the Wild Card loss, and he never really seemed to be well-liked by Bill Belichick.

With an inability to defend the run, failing to really ever set the edge, and some major struggles in 2021, it’s not so shocking that the 2019 third-round pick is being dealt. Just compare his 11 sacks through his first two seasons to his zero sacks this past year, and his 11 tackles compared to his 74 in the previous two years.

Winovich also didn’t start one game and saw just 112 defensive snaps in 2021.

The position is evolving

With the linebacker position becoming more and more about speed and skill rather than just size, acquiring Wilson is very ideal for the Patriots. Just go back to former linebacker and co-defensive coordinator Jerod Mayo’s comments about t in February.

“We’re going to look to get faster, more explosive, and put more playmakers on the field,” Mayo said.

Wilson is just that.

The 24-year-old has both coverage and run defense ability, and also has the ability to play special teams. At 6-foot-1, he’s much smaller than the average inside linebacker — but his weight (233 pounds) is much like young Patriots linebackers in Cameron McGrone (234 pounds) and Raekwon McMillan (244 pounds), not so much like usual the bigger type in Dont’a Hightower.

A replacement for Hightower?

With Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Ja’Whuan Bentley all hitting free agency, this might be one of the several replacements incoming. And, with all three of those backs fitting the stereotypical, heavy-weighing linebacker mold, it wouldn’t be surprising for New England to move on from one or two if not all three.

New look, new team

The Browns aren’t getting a long-haired Winovich. Cleveland will be getting a freshly cut Winovich, as he recently cut off his long hair.

“I am so grateful for my experience in New England,” Winovich tweeted. “The love, spirit, and support have been absolutely unreal. This entire region will always hold the most special of places in my heart. The time is now for the next chapter of my journey.”

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