Patriots' Willie McGinest Signs With Browns

Patriots free agent linebacker WIllie McGinest has agreed to join the Cleveland Browns.

Acording to ESPN, free agent linebacker Willie McGinest, formerly of the New England Patriots, has agreed to a three-year $12 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. The deal includes $6 million in bonuses and incentives according to ESPN's report.

McGinest, who in an interview with ESPN earlier in the week, claimed he hadn't heard from the Patriots. He then flew to Cleveland last night to meet with his former defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Crennel, and Phil Savage liked what they saw in the 34-year-old McGinest and negotiated a deal to bring the New England legend to the Midwest.

"That's part of what excites me, really, is the chance to maybe help a team and help other players achieve some of their goals," McGinest Told ESPN's Len Pasquarelli earlier in the week.

The two-time pro bowler was scheduled to count over $7 million against the salary cap in New England, which factored in to the teams decision to release the 12-year veteran. He was also due a $3.5 million bonus, which both the Patriots and McGinest understood was setup as a deadline for the team to make a decision on his future.

The Browns, who are moving to the 3-4 defense that Crennel ran while in New England, were in need of a DE/ LB to man the outside. After failing to land Kalimba Edwards, the team wasted little time in acquiring McGinest's services.

McGinest finishes his career in New England as the league's all-time postseason sack leader, with 16 ½, with 4 ½ coming in a win over Jacksonville last season. I 12 seasons he has played in 171 games with 146 starts, accumulating 700 tackles, 4 interceptions, 55 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles and 15 fumble recoveries.

He is the second high-profile Patriot to sign with a new team in as many days. Wide receiver David Givens signed with the Tennessee Titans yesterday.

Related: McGinest Profile || Patriots Free Agent Tracker || FA Database || More On McGinest

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