UPDATE: Adrian Clayborn has agreed with the Patriots on a two-year deal worth up to $12.5 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Free-agent edge rusher Adrian Clayborn flew to Boston on Thursday night for a scheduled visit with the Patriots, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.
Clayborn, 29, is coming off a solid season with the Falcons with 9.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries, including a scoop-and-score TD against the Seahawks in Week 11. However it’s worth noting that 6 of Clayborn’s 9.5 sacks came in Week 10 alone.
Regardless of how he’d get his sacks, Clayborn would be an immediate upgrade for the Patriots’ defensive front. Despite the glaring struggles of the secondary in Super Bowl LII, the biggest problem for the Pats in that game – and the most persistent problem all season – was a relative inability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Clayborn should provide at least an appreciable boost in that department.
Clayborn isn’t one of the elite players at his position. But with Bill Belichick coaching him, he’d be put in positions to succeed with the upside to be very good. He could be similar to what Jabaal Sheard brought to the Pats in his first season with the team in 2015 (ideally a little better), which would bring some much-needed explosiveness and playmaking ability to the Pats’ front-seven.
The big question is what kind of contract Clayborn seeks. Because if he intends to sign with the highest bidder, the Patriots would likely come up short. But if he’d be willing to take less than other teams for a virtually guaranteed appearance in the AFC Championship Game and the best odds in the NFL to make the Super Bowl, he could pick the Patriots.
Stay tuned for the next shoe to drop after Clayborn’s visit, as well as everything with the Patriots in free agency.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.