Pass rusher Adrian Clayborn signs with Patriots


The Patriots have dipped their hand into the free-agent pool.

New England signed open-market defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a source told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo on Friday. The team later confirmed the signing.

Set to turn 30 in July, Clayborn is coming off a promising campaign with the Falcons in which he notched a career-high 9.5 sacks. In an unusual twist, six of those takedowns came in one monster Week 10 outing against the Cowboys.

Before spending the past three years in Atlanta, Clayborn was a defensive starter for the Buccaneers, who made him their first-round pick in 2011.

In New England, Clayborn will join a cast of pass-rushers led by Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise and Eric Lee. The Patriots were on the hunt for players who can get to the quarterback and Clayborn is an adequate find.

Look for New England to further address their need for additional pass-rushing help in next month's draft.