5 best fits in NFL free agency

Adrian Clayborn of the Atlanta Falcons will be one of the most sought-after defensive linemen entering 2018 NFL free agency. Here are his five best fits.

It’s not the best free agency market in terms of defensive front-seven talent, but a guy that many teams will have interest in this spring has to be Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Clayborn is coming off his best season as a professional, as he nearly recorded 10 sacks for the first time in his seven-year NFL career.

Yes, six of those 9.5 quarterback sacks of his came in one game against the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott got really acquainted to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium turf that Sunday, as Clayborn had his way with Dallas backup left tackle Chaz Green. Let’s just say Green was anything but replacement level filling in for the injured Tyron Smith.

Clayborn certainly used his patented swim move to have one of his best seasons of his career. While he hasn’t been the star defensive linemen the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used a first-round pick out of Iowa on back in 2011, Clayborn has emerged as one of the more technically sound and versatile defensive linemen in the NFC.

He has had a clean bill of health in Atlanta, unlike his time with the Buccaneers. While he only has one pass-rushing move, Clayborn can play in multiple defensive line schemes. Though he’s mostly just a high-end glue guy, Clayborn will certainly make his teammates better whenever he’s on the field. Here are his five best fits in 2018 NFL free agency.

Cleveland Browns

AFC, North

Not only did the Cleveland Browns not win a game in 2017, but they will also have the most cap space to work with entering 2018. New general manager John Dorsey will have an absurd $110,723,762 worth of space to make his dismal AFC North team better. While the Browns were excellent in run defense, they could look for a veteran upgrade on the defensive line in terms of the pass rush.

Cleveland only had 34 quarterback sacks in 2018. That’s good enough for 21st in the league. One would have to believe that if Cleveland could have generated a bit more pressure in Gregg Williams’ defense that maybe the Browns, I don’t know, would have won a game in 2017. Of course, we can point to a lot of things for reasons that the Browns went winless in 2017, but that’s not what this is about.

In essence, Cleveland could be willing to pay Clayborn handsomely in the twilight of his NFL career. This looks to be Clayborn’s last big NFL contract, as he will be 30 years old within a year. Given that he is technically sound, Clayborn could have staying power in the league if he can keep a clean bill of health. He has revitalized his game in Atlanta and could be the veteran presence from a winning culture that Cleveland could be looking for this offseason.

We have to believe that the Browns will be a big spender in free agency, well, because they have more money than anyone. Obviously, the Browns will have to pay a premium to get anybody halfway decent. Clayborn could get paid the most by the Browns, but likely will give up his shot at winning a Super Bowl should he leave Atlanta for hapless Cleveland.

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