CLEVELAND (March 14) -- Free agent linebacker Willie McGinest, cut by New England last week in a salary cap move, could reunite with some former Patriots in Cleveland.
McGinest was headed to Cleveland, said Steve Caric, spokesman for Las Vegas-based Premier Sports Management, which represents the 12-year veteran.
The 34-year-old McGinest will be wooed by Browns coach Romeo Crennel, who spent four seasons coaching McGinest as New England's defensive coordinator.
Recently signed nose tackle Ted Washington, who played with McGinest on the Patriots' 2003 championship team, has said he will encourage his former teammate to come to Cleveland.
With Washington under contract, the Browns released nose tackle Jason Fisk. Fisk, an 11-year veteran, signed a three-year deal with the team last year. He was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings out of Stanford in 1995 and played four seasons with Minnesota, three with Tennessee and three with San Diego.
The Browns, with nearly $25 million to spend on free agents, have been one of the most active teams this offseason, signing center LeCharles Bentley, wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, offensive lineman Kevin Shaffer, punter Dave Zastudil and Washington.
But they have yet to address their pass rushing, an area general manager Phil Savage listed as a priority after the Browns ranked last in sacks last season.
Cleveland's interest in McGinest may have increased after defensive end Kalimba Edwards re-signed with Detroit. The Browns pursued Edwards with the intent of shifting him to outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.
McGinest would have carried a salary cap figure of more than $7 million for next season in New England. McGinest, with New England his entire career, has 78 career sacks, including six last season.
The two-time Pro Bowler is the NFL's all-time postseason sacks leader with 16. He played in four Super Bowls, including three Patriots victories.