By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have traded disappointing linebacker Barkevious Mingo to the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2017 fifth-round pick.
The teams announced the deal on Thursday.
The Browns selected Mingo with the No. 6 pick in 2013. The former LSU standout has recorded just seven sacks in three seasons and spent much of last season on special teams.
Mingo’s size — 6-foot-4, 240 pounds — and speed have made him intriguing, but none of Cleveland’s coaching staff has found the best way to utilize him. The Browns moved the 25-year-old Mingo from outside linebacker to inside earlier this summer.
Cleveland declined to exercise the fifth-year option on Mingo’s rookie contract in May. With the trade of Mingo, left tackle Joe Thomas and cornerbacks Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert are the only first-round selections by Cleveland from 2007 to 2014 that are still with the team.
The Browns now own Philadelphia’s 2017 first-round pick, Tennessee’s 2017 second-round pick, New England’s 2017 fifth-round pick, Indianapolis’ 2017 seventh-round pick and Philadelphia’s 2018 second-round pick. Cleveland has conditionally surrendered its 2017 fourth-round pick to Philadelphia and its 2017 sixth- or seventh-round pick to San Francisco.
It is the second move New England has made this week after dealing center Bryan Stork to Washington.
While the Browns have had trouble finding somewhere to play Mingo, he has shown a diverse skillset while registering 97 career tackles and seven sacks in 46 career games.
The Patriots don’t have a great deal of depth behind veteran linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Jaime Collins and Jonathan Freeny, so Mingo could possibly make an impact there.
There’s also an opportunity for him on the outside, with two of the Patriots’ pass rushers that were projected to have key roles this season — Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard — working their way back from recent injuries.
AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower in Boston, and freelancer Hayden Grove in Cleveland contributed to this report.
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