The New England Patriots are trading edge rusher Chase Winovich to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for former Crimson Tide linebacker Mack Wilson. This move was first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long been very good friends with Nick Saban and has shown great interest in acquiring his former players in recent years.

Wilson first came to Tuscaloosa in 2016 as a four-star recruit. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he was a strong contributor for the Crimson Tide defense, recording 105 tackles, a sack, and six interceptions in the two years.

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While Wilson’s junior year was strong, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations many pundits and fans had for him. Many, including Saban himself, were surprised to see him leave early to declare for the draft. Saban was said to have called Wilson’s mother and godfather to try to talk him into staying for his senior year, but Wilson was dead set on going to the league and earning money to care for his family.

In the end, Wilson was selected in the 5th round by the Browns. His rookie year showed promise as he started 14 games and logged 82 tackles, a pick, and a sack, but his production has declined in each season since then. He even considered early retirement during an arduous 2020 campaign complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps that extra year in Title Town would have served him well, after all.

Patriot fans are hopeful that with a new home and the tutelage of one the NFL’s greatest defensive minds of all time, Wilson can get back to wreaking havoc on opposing offenses as he did in Tuscaloosa.

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