Patriots trade new-look Chase Winovich to Browns

Unlike last offseason, the New England Patriots spent the first day of the legal tampering period letting the market come to them.

It’s not a surprising strategy given their limited cap room, but their conservative approach has unfortunately cost them JC Jackson, who signed with the Chargers, and Ted Karras, who’ll now block for Joe Burrow in Cincinnati.

The Patriots, meanwhile, have emphasized re-signing other players, like backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, safety and locker room pillar Devin McCourty, and Nick Folk, who’s made 92.6% of his field goals over the last two seasons.

While solid moves in their own right, Patriots fans are likely setting higher expectations for Day 2 and beyond.

Ironically enough, New England got the ball rolling pretty early on Tuesday when they traded pass-rush specialist Chase Winovich to Cleveland in exchange for linebacker Mack Wilson, a former fifth-round pick in 2019.

For Winovich, it’s a fresh start on two fronts. Not only will he get a much-needed change of scenery, but he’ll take his new look with him.

The Patriots traded Chase Winovich and his new haircut to the Browns.

It might be a good thing Winovich was traded, because it would’ve taken a LONG time for Patriots fans to adjust to his new haircut. Going from boasting one of the nicest flows in the league to a basic combover is not something we ever would’ve expected from Winovich, but the NFL offseason never ceases to amaze.

In all seriousness, though, it’s not a surprise the Patriots moved off of Winovich. The 2019 third-round pick out of Michigan showed promise over his first two seasons, racking up 11 sacks and 22 QB hits despite playing 43.5% of the snaps. After New England’s free agent spending spree last offseason, though, Winovich’s stock took a significant hit. Having missed part of training camp with an injury, he was eased in and totaled 78 snaps over the first five games.

In Week 6, Winovich suffered a hamstring injury that knocked him out of commission for the next month. After returning to the lineup, the former Wolverine logged just one game with more than six defensive snaps. He also went three games without even seeing the field on defense. That pretty much said it all.

Now, Winovich will join a Browns front seven that has an opening for a rotational pass rusher behind Myles Garrett. With Jadeveon Clowney a free agent and negotiating with other teams, Patriots fans could see Winovich assume a larger-than-expected role with the Browns next season.

The 24-year-old Wilson is a solid get for the Patriots, but trading Winovich further highlights Bill Belichick’s recent repeated failures at trying to solve the team’s linebacker conundrum with mid-round selections in the draft.