Falcons: Should Adrian Clayborn return for his third stint in Atlanta?

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As reported by Jake Trotter, the Cleveland Browns have released former Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that saves the team $3 million against the cap.


As I have said before, this offseason will see a seismic shift in talent with a shrinking salary cap as teams try to get under the cap. Clayborn’s release isn’t a testament to his play, as he performed well in 2020 and can still rush the passer, racking up 3.5 sacks as a rotational defensive lineman.

Clayborn would be a perfect 3-4 defensive end in Dean Pees’ scheme, giving the Falcons an interior presence rushing the passer other than Grady Jarrett. The defensive line will likely be a rotating one all season, and Clayborn would be an ideal veteran to add.

This offseason isn’t going to bring a Grady Jarrett-Esque player because it just isn’t feasible given the Falcons current salary cap situation. But, building a defensive line with the idea of rotating them all year is more cost-effective and attainable. Having a defender who is stout against the run play first and second down, then rotating in someone like Clayborn seems like the most conducive way to produce a pass rush with limited cap space available. While he is in the back end of his career, Clayborn proved last season that he still has some juice left in the tank.

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Photo: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

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