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Patriots sign former Buccaneers and Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn

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The Patriots have found help for their defensive line.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s raining Patriots news as the Patriots close the deal on another free agent, inking former Buccaneers and Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn to a 2-year, $12 million contract. Clayborn was a first round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2011 draft and played for the Falcons in 2015-2017, facing the Patriots in Super Bowl LI and in Week 7 in the 2017 season.

On the compensatory pick front, Clayborn’s contract likely cancels out Danny Amendola, who signed a contract with a similar maximum value with the Miami Dolphins. So now that gives the Patriots a net of 3 lost free agents (Malcolm Butler, Nate Solder, Dion Lewis). On the gridiron, Clayborn projects to play on the edge on even fronts and move inside on odd fronts, similar to Trey Flowers. Clayborn’s sack numbers don’t look impressive considering 6 of his 9.5 sacks came against the turnstile known as the Dallas Cowboys’ backup left tackle. However, he did record 54 total pressures over the course of the season according to Pro Football Focus, which puts him right behind Flowers in that department.

The Patriots now had a solid, although not spectacular, 1-2-3 tandem at defensive end between Flowers, 2nd year player Deatrich Wise Jr., and the recently signed Clayborn. The Patriots still could use some depth on their defensive line, but this signing allows for the Patriots to not have to force a pick at the position early to fill a roster hole. The signing also has domino effects on the roster with Flowers a year away from free agency, giving Flowers an idea of where the Patriots may value him long term as well as the Patriots having an option should Flowers walk next March.