Mack Wilson

Texans, Titans Pursuing LB Denzel Perryman

MARCH 16: Perryman is meeting with the Texans on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The former Chargers, Panthers (sort of) and Raiders linebacker is looking to find a home for a ninth NFL season.

MARCH 15: This year’s crowded inside linebacker market has produced one big contract (the Bears’ Tremaine Edmunds pact) and a host of mid- or low-level agreements. While the legal tampering period has taken many off-ball ‘backers off the board, a few key names remain.

Denzel Perryman is one of the top options left, and he may end up deciding between two AFC South suitors. The Texans and Titans have shown interest in the veteran linebacker, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports.

Perryman hit free agency after two seasons with the Raiders. While those slates helped re-establish the former Chargers draftee’s value, his profile as a run-stopping linebacker — as opposed to a true three-down player with plus coverage skills — will impact his market. The 30-year-old defender logged a 70% defensive snap share last season. Pro Football Focus graded Perryman as a top-12 linebacker against the run, propelling him to a top-20 overall assessment.

The Panthers gave Perryman a multiyear deal in 2021, but he never ended up playing for them after a preseason trade to the Raiders. Gus Bradley, Perryman’s primary DC with the Chargers, put the former second-round pick to work quickly, using him on 83% of the Raiders’ defensive plays that season. Perryman finished the year with 154 tackles — far and away a career-high total — and helped Las Vegas rally to the playoffs despite a turbulent season.

The Raiders showed interest in a Perryman extension before the season, but nothing came to pass. They did circle back last month, though there is a real risk he departs now. The Titans have lost starters David Long and Zach Cunningham, though GM Ran Carthon is reuniting with ex-49er Azeez Al-Shaair. The Texans, who were also linked to Al-Shaair due to his DeMeco Ryans connection, but have not made a move at linebacker yet during the tampering period.

Houston has also shown interest in Mack Wilson, per Aaron Wilson. Mack Wilson spent last season with the Patriots, having been traded straight up for Chase Winovich, but logged 28 starts with the Browns from 2019-21. Houston is also interested in defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, Wilson adds, while also being in on centers Garrett Bradbury, Ethan Pocic and Jake Brendel, the latter of whom having ties to a few Texans coaches. But the center market has largely led to retention thus far. Bradbury, Brendel and Pocic have returned to their respective teams (Vikings, 49ers, Browns). The Texans are believed to be interested in former Lions center Evan Brown, however. The Detroit center/guard option has not signed anywhere yet; Brown has started 24 games over the past two seasons.

The Jets are trying to bring back Rankins, who has played for the team for the past two years. The Texans’ center interest stems from the team cutting Justin Britt, its two-year pivot starter. Britt is planning to retire.

Patriots To Re-Sign LB Mack Wilson

The Patriots will bring back 2022 trade acquisition Mack Wilson. While the veteran linebacker fielded interest from at least three teams, Tom Pelissero of notes (via Twitter) he is staying in New England.

Both the teams Wilson has played for — the Browns and Patriots — showed interest, along with the Texans. But Wilson will stay with the Pats on a one-year deal worth up to $2.2MM. Wilson, 25, started three games for the Patriots last season, working more on special teams.

New England and Cleveland swapped Wilson and Chase Winovich last year; the latter already signed with the Texans, who were attempting to bring in both pieces of that trade. But Wilson will stick around with a franchise that places a great deal of emphasis on special teams. Wilson saw action on 62% of New England’s ST snaps during his debut with the team.

A former fifth-round pick out of Alabama, Wilson logged a 21% defensive snap share with the Pats last season. He made three starts, but this contract’s value suggests the team views him more as a special teams regular and backup.

New England still has its 2022 linebacking crew on the roster. Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai and Raekwon McMillan remain under contract.

Latest On Patriots’ LB Competition

Inside linebacker has been the source of plenty of roster turnover this offseason in New England. The team has seen a number of veterans depart recently, leaving them with much uncertainty amongst their current options at the position. 

The losses of Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy left the Patriots with a significant number of snaps to fill in the middle of their defense. That made LB as a position many expected would be a draft target for New England; however, they elected not to add rookies with any of their selections, and even declined to sign any UDFAs to add competition for roster spots.

[RELATED: Patriots Open To Hightower Return?]

As a result, the team is using the offseason to re-order its new depth chart at the position. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Raekwon McMillan has been one of the “top” linebackers in practice, taking starter’s reps alongside Ja’Whaun Bentley. The former signed with New England after brief stints with the Dolphins and Raiders. A torn ACL – already the second of his career – prevented him from seeing the field this past campaign. New England still extended him, though, paving the way for what could be a significant role in 2022.

Other linebackers slated for notable playing time include Mack Wilson, whom the Patriots acquired in a trade with the Browns during the early stages of free agency. He has rotated amongst McMillan and Bentley, seeing time with Josh Uche. Where the latter (a 2020 second-rounder drafted as a pass-rusher) lines up will remain a key storyline into the summer. Reiss notes that Uche’s precise fit in the LB corps “looks like a moving target,” given his usage in spring practices.

A veteran addition would come as little surprise at this point, given New England’s lack of known commodities at linebacker. If they elect to maintain the status quo, however, the position could provide one of the most intriguing training camp competitions on the roster.

Patriots Trade Chase Winovich To Browns

The Patriots have agreed to send outside linebacker Chase Winovich (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). In exchange, the Browns will send linebacker Mack Wilson to the Patriots. The trade will be processed tomorrow at 4pm ET/3pm CT, when the new league year officially begins.

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. ”

Winovich, 27 in April, notched 5.5 sacks in each of his first two pro seasons. Last year, he saw a little less action as he appeared in 13 games with zero starts and notched just eleven tackles in total. For his career, Winovich has 45 regular season appearances (nine starts) with 85 tackles, eleven sacks, one interception, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble.

It’s a similar story for Wilson, who has slipped down the Browns’ depth chart in each pro season. Last year, he saw a near even split between special teams and defense, notching 42 tackles across his 14 games. Across the last three years, he’s got 163 tackles, one sack, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception to his credit.

Browns Place RB Kareem Hunt, Seven Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Browns have placed more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including running back Kareem Hunt. The team announced that the following players have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

In his third season with the Browns, Hunt has totalled 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with an additional 174 yards on 22 catches in eight games. The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Browns’ backfield alongside Nick Chubb, helping the team average 143.5 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL.

The team also announced that offensive assistant coach T.C. McCartney has tested positive for COVID-19. We learned earlier today that the NFL was pushing Saturday’s game between the Browns and Raiders to Monday.

Meanwhile, Cleveland activated linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they’ve signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta to the active roster off the Jaguars practice squad. Lauletta, 26, has appeared in just two NFL games. Both were with the Giants in 2018, where he went 0-for-five with one interception. He has since spent time on the Eagles’, Falcons’ and Browns’ practice squads, only going to Jacksonville’s after being waived at the end of August.

Browns’ Jadeveon Clowney Tests Positive For COVID-19

Two more Browns players are looking doubtful for this week. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kimberley A. Martin of (on Twitter). And, earlier today, the Browns announced that linebacker Mack Wilson has also tested positive. 

With Clowney added to the list, the Browns are likely down to eleven healthy starters for tomorrow’s game against the Raiders. The league’s new COVID-19 rules could allow some players in the group to be cleared in time, but it doesn’t seem likely with ~24 hours until game time.

Clowney has started in all 12 of his games this year and, for the most part, looks to have rebounded well from his latest knee surgery. So far, he’s got 29 tackles and five sacks — two more sacks than he had in 2019 and 2020 combined. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus has him ranked as just the 45th best edge defender in the league. Regardless, the Browns can ill afford to play without him (and the other ~20 players on the COVID-19 list) as they push for a playoff spot.

Wilson, 23, has appeared in 13 games this season, including five starts. He’s got 40 tackles on the year, giving him 161 stops across the last three seasons.

Browns LB Mack Wilson Not Expected To Require Knee Surgery

The Browns received some good news Monday. They may well see Mack Wilson in action early this season.

Wilson is not expected to need surgery to repair his hyperextended knee, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. A four- to six-week timetable represents the current tentative expectation, which would make the start of October a realistic goal for the second-year linebacker.

This injury occurred in practice nearly two weeks ago. Browns doctors and Dr. James Andrews, whom Wilson sought for a second opinion, determined surgery should not be necessary, Mary Kay Cabot of notes. Wilson’s recovery going smoothly would put him on track to be back early during the Browns’ regular-season slate. The Alabama product was an expected Week 1 starter for Cleveland, which has retooled at linebacker.

Cleveland cut Christian Kirksey and allowed 2019 tackles leader Joe Schobert to walk in free agency. The Browns have 2019 draftee Sione Takitaki, 2020 third-rounder Jacob Phillips and former Giants B.J. Goodson and Tae Davis in the fold on their defensive second level. Following Wilson’s injury, they also added former Seahawks, Raiders and 49ers starter Malcolm Smith.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Wilson, Ravens

After leaving for Los Angeles to care for his coronavirus-stricken son, John Ross has returned to the Bengals. The fourth-year wide receiver, however, has landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list, Mike Garafolo of notes (video link). Ross’ son and the baby’s mother tested positive for COVID-19. Pending no positive virus tests, Ross can return to action as soon as Saturday.

Moving first to a Browns injury situation, here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Browns linebacker Mack Wilson is awaiting word on the severity of a knee injury he suffered in practice recently. The Cleveland starter is expected to miss several weeks because of a knee hyperextension, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link). No tear is believed to have occurred, per Rapoport, but surgery appears to still be on the table. That would put Wilson’s season in jeopardy. With the Browns having disbanded their veteran linebacking corps over the past year and change, Wilson is now the team’s longest-tenured starter at that position. The 2019 fifth-round pick made 14 starts as a rookie.
  • Bengals safety Shawn Williams has also run into injury trouble. The eighth-year defender was carted off during a recent practice with a calf ailment. Williams has sought a second opinion, and’s Tom Pelissero writes optimism exists the longtime starter can return in time for the Bengals’ Week 1 game (Twitter link). Williams has been a starter for the past four seasons, but the Bengals signing former Saints starter Vonn Bell could potentially cloud Williams’ role.
  • Nine months after tearing his ACL, PCL and MCL and dislocating his kneecap, Matt Skura returned to practice. The Ravens‘ first-string center passed his physical and was back in time for the team’s first padded practice, the team announced. Skura’s return, in a contract year, would be key for a Ravens team that saw potential Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda retire after 13 seasons.
  • It appears the Ravens will put their sixth-round pick to work quickly. Wide receiver James Proche is on track to be the team’s punt returner, but Baltimore special teams coordinator Chris Horton said (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, on Twitter) the SMU product is a candidate to return kicks as well. The Ravens recently signed veteran return man Kenjon Barner, so Proche still being in contention for the kick-return role is interesting.

Alabama’s Mack Wilson To Enter Draft

Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson will enter the NFL Draft, according to Matt Zenitz of Wilson joins fellow Crimson Tide standouts Jonah Williams, Quinnen Williams, Josh Jacobs, Irv Smith, Saivion Smith, and Deionte Thompson in this year’s class, leaving the program with lots of big shoes to fill. 

Wilson finished with 71 tackles, five tackles for a loss, one sack, and two interceptions in his junior season. He’s widely considered to be one of the best inside linebackers in this year’s class and has a real shot at becoming a first-round pick.

It has been an amazing three years at the University of Alabama, competing for three national championships and winning one,” Wilson wrote on social media.

ESPN’s Todd McShay lists Wilson as the No. 3 inside linebacker in the draft. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has him in the same place – he sees him at the third best ILB in this year’s crop behind only LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush and believes him to be the best run-stopping LB of the whole group.