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2018 NFL free agency rumor: Patriots linked to Falcons pass rusher Adrian Clayborn

Patriots looking to add reinforcements on the edge.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One of the areas the New England Patriots are looking to address this offseason is upgrading their edge pass rush. New England was linked to Washington Redskins pass rusher Trent Murphy but the free agent ultimately signed a three-year $21 million contract with the Buffalo Bills. Another player the Patriots are also reportedly in the mix for is Atlanta Falcons' defensive edge Adrian Clayborn (via ESPN's Vaughn McClure).

The 29-year old is coming off the most productive season of his career, a 9.5 sack campaign (although, to be fair, six of those sacks came in one game). Like Murphy would have, Clayborn would fit New England from an athletic standpoint but would also come with his fair share of questions. Still, at the right price, Clayborn would be a nice addition to the defensive edge rotation.

The team currently has Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise Jr. as their top pass rushing options. Outside of those two, the Patriots are returning Eric Lee in addition to seeing Derek Rivers return from a torn ACL. Lee is more of a backup type that flashed in certain situations but also played undisciplined at times, which hurt the team in big moments, while Rivers hasn’t played a single regular season snap. Adding Clayborn would give the Patriots more experience at the position.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Josina Anderson is reporting that the Patriots are bringing in Clayborn for a visit. Patriots will get first crack at signing the former Falcons edge rusher. Clayborn last season recorded 54 total pressures (16th amongst 4-3 DEs) according to Pro Football Focus and although this sack production was mostly concentrated against the Cowboys turnstile of backup LTs, there is a solid track record of being at least disruptive.