Adrian Clayborn

NFC Notes: Clayborn, 49ers, Lions

Falcons defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn was prepared to hang up the cleats last offseason, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Clayborn suffered a torn biceps in Atlanta’s playoff win over the Seahawks in January, which marked the third time that he had endured a season-ending injury, and he was ready to retire rather than risk more pain and frustration. However, his fiancee (now wife) convinced him to give it another shot, and Atlanta is reaping the benefits. In addition to his otherworldly (and perhaps cathartic) six-sack performance against Dallas last week, Clayborn has rated as the 10th-best edge defender in the league (out of 110 qualifiers) per Pro Football Focus. He will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and he could be on the verge of a very nice payday.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • 2017 was always going to be a rebuilding year for the 49ers, and Cam Inman of the Mercury News offers his thoughts as to each current player’s future with the club. He suggests, for instance, that the team may prefer to let oft-injured Jimmie Ward test a soft free agent market but may want to re-sign fellow free agent-t0-be Daniel Kilgore.
  • Kyle Meinke of says he would not be surprised if the Lions simply cut Eric Ebron this offseason. While Ebron is due an $8MM salary under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, that salary is guaranteed for injury only, so Detroit could move on from him with no penalty (assuming, of course, he does not get hurt in the meantime). Theoretically, the two sides could attempt to work out some alternate arrangement — after all, Ebron would not get close to $8MM on the open market — but given that Ebron seemed anxious for a fresh start when his name was bandied about at the trade deadline, it sounds as if Ebron may be playing his last games as Lion.
  • In the same piece, Meinke says it is hard to imagine Lions head coach Jim Caldwell getting the axe after the season, even if the team fails to qualify for the playoffs. However, Meinke predicts that Detroit will let impending free agent center Travis Swanson, who has performed poorly this season, hit the open market while sliding Graham Glasgow from guard to center.
  • Ty Montgomery‘s re-aggravated rib injury is more painful than the original injury that he suffered earlier in the year, as ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets. Anderson said the Packers running back, who will miss today’s contest against the Ravens, will try to practice later this week with the hopes of suiting up for Green Bay’s Week 12 game against Pittsburgh, but it does not sound particularly promising right now.
  • Mike Pettine, who is currently serving as a consultant with the Seahawks, would be one of Matt Nagy‘s top choices for defensive coordinator if Nagy lands a head coaching job this offseason, as Michael Lombardi of The Ringer tweets. Pettine served as the Browns’ head coach from 2014-15, and he was previously a defensive coordinator for the Jets and Bills. Nagy currently works as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and is expected to be one of the hottest head coaching candidates in 2018.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Clayborn, Blank

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had six sacks on Sunday, and that allowed him to cash in on a $750K incentive, a source tells Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Clayborn’s contract called for a $750K incentive if he reached eight sacks on the year and he entered the game with two. If he gets another two this season, he’ll earn $1.25MM. Clayborn’s real payday could come in the spring after his two-year contract with Atlanta expires. The former first-round pick is still only 29 and will not turn 30 until next July.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Falcons owner Arthur Blank did his best to quiet speculation about Roger Goodell‘s pending extension in a statement. “The Committee is continuing its work towards finalizing a contract extension with the Commissioner, consistent with the mandate provided in the unanimous May 2017 Resolution,” Blank said (via Schefter on Facebook). “Regardless of what may have been reported, the Committee is working within the financial parameters outlined to the ownership at the May meeting. The negotiations are progressing and we will keep ownership apprised of the negotiations as they move forward. We do not intend to publicly comment on our discussions.”
  • Panthers rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel may be done for season, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. Samuel exited Carolina’s 45-21 win over Miami in the third quarter after a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. Initially, it was believed that Samuel had suffered a high ankle sprain, but a team source tells Person that it could be a whole lot worse. If Samuel is done, the Panthers could replace him with second-year wideout Damiere Byrd since he can return from IR in time for their game against New Orleans on Dec. 3.
  • Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter expects Jameis Winston to play again this season.
  • Saints running back Daniel Lasco is done for the year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/17/17

Today’s minor moves:


Atlanta Falcons

Practice Squad

Green Bay Packers

Reserve/Futures Contracts

Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Cowboys

  • TE Rico Gathers
  • WR Andy Jones

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

  • WR Rashad Lawrence

Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn Done For Playoffs

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn suffered a torn bicep during Saturday’s Divisional Round win over the Seahawks and will miss the remainder of the postseason, tweets Ian Rapoport of Clayborn

[RELATED: Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart]

Clayborn already missed roughly a month earlier this season after tearing his MCL and partially tearing his meniscus, so Atlanta has been forced to deal with his absence before. The Falcons play a heavy rotation along their defensive line, but Clayborn — even with several missed games — still played the third-most snaps among Atlanta defenders this season and graded out as roughly average, placing as the No. 56 edge defender among 106 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. On the season, Clayborn posted five sacks, one fumble recovery (which resulted in a touchdown), and one pass defensed in seven starts.

Clayborn, 28, has torn his bicep before, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Clayborn missed all but one game in his last season with the Buccaneers (2014) after suffering the same injury. Signed to a two-year contract before the 2015 campaign, Clayborn will count for $5.5MM on the Falcons’ salary cap next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons’ Adrian Clayborn Tears MCL

The Falcons are expected to be without defensive end Adrian Clayborn for upwards of a month, Adam Schefter of tweets. A torn MCL and partially torn meniscus will shelve the edge starter, per Schefter, with surgery being a likely course of action.

Clayborn has started five games for the Falcons this season, his second with the team. He re-signed with Atlanta this offseason on a two-year deal worth approximately $9MM.

The sixth-year veteran has been fairly productive this season, recording 4.5 sacks — an improvement from the three he registered in Atlanta in 2015 — and rating as Pro Football Focus’ No. 45 edge defender. Those 4.5 sacks are second only to Vic Beasley‘s 9.5 on the NFC South-leading Falcons. Clayborn also notched his first NFL touchdown this season, returning an interception five yards for a score against the Chargers last month.

Without Clayborn for possibly the remainder of the regular season, the Falcons have some experienced options to plug in as a starter. Tyson Jackson, Courtney Upshaw and Dwight Freeney each reside as depth pieces, although Jackson profiles more as an interior defender. Freeney (three sacks) has played 274 snaps to Clayborn’s 484 but was a starter as recently as two years ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Sign Adrian Clayborn To Two-Year Deal

THURSDAY, 8:43am: The Falcons have officially announced their deal with Clayborn.

WEDNESDAY, 8:54am: The Falcons and defensive end Adrian Clayborn have agreed to a two-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of Rapoport adds (on Twitter) that Clayborn will get a $9MM base with a chance to max out at $14MM. Clayborn is the second defensive end signing the Falcons have made today, joining Derrick Shelby.

Clayborn, whom the Falcons inked to a $4.5MM deal last winter, started in five of 16 appearances for the club during the 2015-16 campaign and logged 15 tackles and three sacks. The 27-year-old was also third among the Falcons’ defensive linemen in snaps (523) and earned a decent ranking (53rd out of 110 qualifying edge defenders) at Pro Football Focus (sub. required). Clayborn’s most productive years came in 2011 (42 tackles, 7.5 sacks) and 2013 (64 tackles, 5.5 sacks), both of which were spent in Tampa. He was the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2011.

FA Rumors: Whitehead, Clayborn, Vikings, Jags

With Kiko Alonso set to head to Miami once the trade between the Dolphins and Eagles becomes official, Philadelphia will be in the market for a new linebacker. And Eliot Shorr-Parks of hears that the Eagles are targeting a player with whom new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is familiar.

According to Shorr-Parks, the Eagles have expressed interest in Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who can become a free agent this week. Whitehead ranked as our top non-rush outside linebacker when we examined 2016’s top defensive free agents over the weekend, and he’d represent an upgrade over Alonso. However, he’ll also be more expensive, so we’ll see if Howie Roseman and the Eagles can make it work.

Here’s more updates on free agents around the NFL:

  • Free agent defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn, who has experience playing inside and outside, is drawing interest from a few teams, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Rapoport identifies the Giants, Jaguars, Cowboys, and Dolphins as some of the clubs “lurking” on Clayborn.
  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press passes along a couple updates on the Vikings‘ free agent prospects, reporting (via Twitter) that the team has inquired on safety Reggie Nelson, who previously played for Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati. Tomasson adds (via Twitter) that he’s hearing offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele may be too expensive for Minnesota.
  • Could defensive lineman Malik Jackson be a top target for the Jaguars this week? Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains why it could be a good match, noting that Jacksonville is believed to have several targets for the first wave of free agency.
  • Free agent wide receiver James Jones tells Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link) that he wants to keep playing for “at least three more years”
  • Buccaneers safety Keith Tandy, an unrestricted free agent, has been in talks to return to Tampa Bay, and there’s a good chance he re-signs with the team within the next few days, says Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).

NFC Notes: Cousins, White, Giants, Bucs

Washington and the Eagles lined up their 2016 quarterbacks within days of each other, with Kirk Cousins staying in D.C. on the franchise tag and Sam Bradford signing a two-year deal to remain in Philadelphia.

Washington, however, was concerned the Eagles were going to pursue Cousins if it didn’t apply the franchise tag or designated the fifth-year quarterback with the transition tag, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Florio points out Cousins’ familiarity in an offense closer to the West Coast attack Doug Pederson runs would have made the Mike Shanahan-drafted signal-caller attractive to the Eagles.

Here’s more from some NFC destinations as the 2015 league year nears its conclusion.

  • Roddy White‘s release from the Falcons stemmed from the receiver’s relationship with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, White’s agent, Jonathan Feinsod, told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There is one reason Roddy is no longer with the Falcons and it is Kyle Shanahan,” Feinsod told Ledbetter. “Kyle forced the Falcons to choose between him or Roddy.” White also contended Kyle Shanahan did not feature him much in the Falcons’ offense after he arrived from Cleveland in 2015, with the recently released wideout telling ESPN’s Vaughn McClureI expected to play a bigger role in the offense, and that’s what I wanted to do. But he didn’t have that in his desires. He had other people that he wanted to play my role, so he wanted me to be out of the [offense].” White’s 43 receptions in 16 games last season were 37 fewer than he caught in 2014 in 14 contests. Falcons coach Dan Quinn denied consulting with Shanahan prior to making the decision to release the 34-year-old White, according to Ledbetter.
  • A source close to Calvin Johnson tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press there’s “nothing to report” on Megatron’s potential retirement. Birkett notes the Lions are expected to pursue receiving help. Johnson is on Detroit’s books for $24.01MM as of now.
  • The Giants engaged in discussions with Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers but couldn’t come to terms, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports. He expects both to enter unrestricted free agency and begin talking with teams Monday.
  • Vacchiano also notes the Cowboys are expected to have interest in former Buccaneers first-round pick Adrian Clayborn, whom the Giants are expected to pursue as well. The 27-year-old Clayborn started five games for the Falcons last season and 16 in both the 2011 and ’13 seasons with the Bucs, respectively. The Cowboys could lose Greg Hardy and will be without Randy Gregory for four games in 2016.
  • Georgia Southern outside linebacker Antoine Williams worked out for the Bucs, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Bucs are expected to release Bruce Carter and did not tender RFA Danny Lansanah, so they’ll likely be in the market for outside-linebacking help.

Mario Williams To Visit Giants, Jaguars?

8:47pm: The Giants are hoping to finalize a Williams summit within the next few days, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports. It’s possible, a source tells Vacchiano, that Williams instead meets with the Jaguars first.

7:11pm: Williams may not be arriving for his Giants visit tonight after all. Williams still intends to meet with the Giants, but there are details that need to be ironed out, Rapoport tweets. The Jaguars are also in the mix for Williams, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

6:23pm: Williams’ visit will begin tonight and continue through Monday, Ian Rapoport of reports (on Twitter). Rapoport notes the Giants have a chance to keep him from visiting other teams. They carry the third-most cap space in the league, behind only the Jaguars and Raiders.

5:35pm: Needing significant help at defensive end, the Giants are set to host Mario Williams on a visit, a source told Jordan Raanan of

The Giants already scheduled a visit with former Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson for today and are moving aggressively to gauge the pass-rushing options before free agency opens Wednesday. They are permitted to speak with the 31-year-old Williams and 29-year-old Johnson because their respective teams released them.

The Giants are among the four or five teams with which Williams is likely to visit, Raanan reports. Johnson also plans to visit with the Buccaneers.

Raanan expects the Giants to be in the running for the other top UFA edge-rushers, a group that includes Tamba Hali, Bruce Irvin and William Hayes. Hali and Irvin, however, have played linebacker for the most part of their careers, with Hali last serving as an end in 2008.

Adrian Clayborn‘s also someone the Giants are expected to consider, Raanan tweets.

Williams wrapped up a visit with the Dolphins, according to the team’s Twitter account. His next potential employer has far more cap space and less talent at defensive end currently on its roster. The Dolphins feature Cameron Wake and transition-tagged Olivier Vernon at end, while the Giants are without both returning starters — Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers — from the end of last season. JPP and Ayers are unrestricted free agents.

The Bills released Williams on Tuesday in advance of the former No. 1 overall pick being on their books for $19.9MM in 2016. Williams did not fare well in Buffalo’s transition to a 3-4 scheme last season, recording only five sacks — his fewest since his 2006 rookie campaign.

But Williams has always performed better as a 4-3 end, recording 38 sacks from 2012-14 in Buffalo, and the Giants use that scheme. They no longer possess any of the assets from their NASCAR package halcyon days, although JPP could still be in the picture, but have more than $55.7MM worth of cap space to address the position.

Despite Pierre-Paul’s return, the Giants finished with 26 sacks, which was good enough for 30th in the league.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

NFC Notes: Cousins, Reiff, Falcons, Floyd

As noted earlier this afternoon, Washington‘s Scot McCloughan wasn’t on today’s schedule of general managers or head coaches to hold formal press conferences at the combine in Indianapolis. However, he did speak to the media about his team’s contract talks with quarterback Kirk Cousins.

While McCloughan didn’t go into specifics, he said that he has met with Cousins’ agent face-to-face this week, describing the sit-down as “very positive,” per Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link). According to McCloughan, conversations are going on “every day” between the two sides, and he remains optimistic that something will get done (Twitter link).

Let’s round up several more of the latest GM and head coach comments from the combine in Indianapolis, with a focus on NFC teams….

  • Lions tackle Riley Reiff is currently set to earn an $8.07MM salary for 2016, and while that money isn’t yet guaranteed, Reiff won’t be going anywhere, GM Bob Quinn said today (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). It’s not clear yet what position Reiff will play next season, but he’ll be a Lion.
  • Speaking to the media today, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that he’d like to see defensive free agents Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield re-signed, and added that no veterans besides Paul Soliai have been approached about restructuring their contracts (Twitter links via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ESPN’s Vaughn McClure).
  • There’s no new deal imminent for Michael Floyd, but GM Steve Keim had plenty of praise for the Cardinals wideout, as Josh Weinfuss of details. Floyd is extension-eligible but still has one year left on his rookie contract, so Arizona doesn’t have to get anything done right away.
  • Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed today that wide receiver Kevin Norwood met the conditions of the trade Carolina made with Seattle prior to the 2015 season, so the Seahawks will receive the Panthers‘ seventh-round pick in 2017, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Despite a fairly sizable cap hit for 2016, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison sounds like a good bet to remain on Minnesota’s roster based on comments made today by GM Rick Spielman, says Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune.