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Notes: Browns agree to trade LB Mack Wilson to Patriots for pass rusher Chase Winovich

The Browns and Patriots agreed to trade linebackers who haven’t met expectations and are entering the final year of their rookie contracts.

Cleveland will send Mack Wilson, a fifth-round pick out of Alabama in 2019, to New England for Chase Winovich, a 2019 third-round pick out of Michigan, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram. The deal can’t become official until the league year starts Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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Winovich (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) played outside linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4 defense and will likely transition to a pass-rushing defensive end in the Browns’ 4-3 scheme. He’s played 45 games, with all nine starts coming in 2020. He has 11 sacks — 5.5 in 2019 and 2020 — 23 quarterback hits, 85 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, an interception, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.

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Takk McKinley was the No. 3 end last year but is a free agent and tore his Achilles at the end of the season. Winovich should compete for that role.

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Wilson started 28 of 43 games, including 14 as a rookie. He couldn’t match the impact in the next two years.

He totaled 163 tackles, five tackles for loss, nine passes defensed, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. He lost playing time last year to rookie second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Wilson posted a goodbye letter to Cleveland on Twitter.

“I am forever thankful to Cleveland for granting me the opportunity to be a part of a culture change alongside my brothers that I’ve created life-long relationships with,” he wrote. “Cleveland has played a pivotal role in molding me into an accountable man and athlete determined to persevere through adversity and maximize each and every opportunity presented to me. I’ve given my all to this organization & city of Cleveland, which is what I want to be remembered for. … The city will forever have a special place in me and my family heart!”

Winovich said farewell to New England, then shifted his attention.

“I am so grateful for my experience in New England.” he 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.”

He followed with a tweet that simply read: “CLEVELAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

DB DEPARTS

Defensive back M.J. Stewart Jr. agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Texans.

Stewart was a core special teamer for the Browns the last two years and played well late in 2021 when the secondary was short-handed, starting three games. He has versatility, with experience at cornerback, nickelback and safety.

Stewart, 26, was a second-round pick of the Buccaneers in 2018, and the Browns acquired him off waivers in August 2020.

Ronnie Harris Jr. is also an unrestricted free agent after starting 11 games last year, so the Browns could be in the market for a third safety to join John Johnson III and Grant Delpit in coordinator Joe Woods’ dime defense.

THE PICK IS IN

The NFL announced the compensatory picks for the draft in April. The Browns received No. 99, 35th in the third round, as part of the NFL’s plan to reward organizations for developing minority coaches and front office personnel. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was hired as general manager of the Vikings.

The Browns will get another third-round compensatory pick next year.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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