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Patriots Release Defensive End Clayborn

March 16, 2019
New England Patriots defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) watches from the sideline during a Sept. 16, 2018, game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jaguars won, 31-20. AP FILE PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Kevin Duffy

Boston Herald

FOXBORO -- In an effort to clear cap space, the New England Patriots are releasing veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

Clayborn announced the news Friday morning on his Twitter account.

“Thank you Patriots for my time with the organization,” Clayborn wrote. “I gained so much respect for how you do things and win championships. It’s done the right way through hard work. Thank you for granting my release. I’m ready for this next chapter.”

Clayborn, 30, was the team’s top free-agent signing in the 2018 offseason. He inked a two-year deal worth $10 million. He ended up banking $6 million from the contract. The Patriots will clear approximately $3.5 million by releasing him.

The move will help the cap-strapped Patriots in the short term. They entered free agency with around $12 million in space, and have since made a handful of moves.

On the field, Clayborn filled a role as a pass-rushing specialist off the edge. He played primarily on passing downs and enjoyed a few dominant performances, most notably a Week 5 win over the Colts and a Week 9 win over the Packers.

The Patriots will experience significant turnover along the defensive line next season. Trey Flowers signed with the Lions, Malcom Brown signed with the Saints, and Danny Shelton remains a free agent.

Also Friday, the Patriots re-signed defensive end John Simon and added lineman Mike Pennel, who together with Michael Bennett will try to make up for the production lost after Trey Flowers signed with the Detroit Lions.

Simon was originally signed by the Patriots last September and appeared in 11 games with two starts, totaling 17 tackles and two sacks. He also played in all three playoff games last season and had a half-sack in the AFC championship game.

Defensive back Terrence Brooks was signed to add depth to a secondary that won’t have Eric Rowe back.

On offense, New England added a pair of receivers, signing Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris. They will compete for a role in a receiver group that won’t have Cordarrelle Patterson back after he signed with Chicago.

The Patriots also signed tight end Matt LaCosse as they await Rob Gronkowski’s decision on whether he will return for his 10th season.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.