Browns Lose Pass-Rusher to AFC South Squad in Free Agency

Chase Winovich

Getty Images Sione Takitaki of the Cleveland Browns and Chase Winovich.

Chase Winovich plans to sign with the Houston Texans, bringing an official end to his brief stint with the Cleveland Browns.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the move, which reunites Winovich with Texans GM Nick Caserio, who was part of the New England Patriots staff that drafted him.

The Browns traded for Winovich last season in a move that sent linebacker Mack Wilson to the Patriots.

The former third-round pick was expected to be a part of the pass-rush rotation in Cleveland but injuries limited him to just eight games. In all, Winovich finished with 20 tackles and one sack.

He played on 35 percent of the defensive snaps he was active for, also playing a role on special teams.

Browns’ Priority is Rebuilding Defensive Line

The Browns have a major rebuilding project on their defensive line and are hoping to land a few big fish in free agency or via trade to help rebuild a unit that was largely disappointing last season outside of Myles Garrett.

The Browns have Garrett to build around, with the Pro Bowler coming off a second-consecutive 16-sack campaign. But they’ll have to beef up at defensive tackle — which was one of the worst position groups in the league last season — and replace veteran DE Jadeveon Clowney, who burned his bridge with the Browns ahead of the final game of the season.

While Javon Hargrave is off the board after signing a massive deal with the San Francisco 49ers, the Browns are still in the mix for Dre’mont Jones, per Mary Kay Cabot of

Jones would check a lot of boxes for Cleveland. He started all 13 games he appeared in last season with the Denver Broncos, notching a career-high 6.5 sacks and 47 tackles. His season ended early with a hip injury, although he’ll be good to go for the start of the regular season.

Jones would also have no problem playing alongside a star like Garrett, gaining experience with star teammates in Denver playing with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

“I’m used to star players,” Jones told “My goal is to make not only my job easier, but their job easier too, especially (Garrett). He’ll probably have all all the spotlight, the attention when it comes to game planning. So if I’m there, my job would be to load the pressure off.”

Jim Schwartz Eager to Build ‘Attacking’ Defense

The Browns defense needed a refresh, which came in the form of new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Browns hired the veteran coach this offseason after parting ways with Joe Woods shortly after the end of the season.

Schwartz is known for getting the most out of his defensive fronts and knows the type of players he’s looking for.

“There are certain skill sets we look for and a little bit of play style that maybe other people might not appreciate as much,” Schwartz told the Browns official site. “They might use the person a little bit differently, and something that’s sort of involved in that scheme is that we can get guys going pretty quickly.

“I think that if we all work together, we can find some productive players regardless of (if they’re in) the first round, or as a high-priced free agent or anything else.”

Another defensive need for the Browns will be at safety, with the team releasing veteran John Johnson III this offseason in a cap-saving move.
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