Here’s a quick rundown of some of today’s top stories.
McClellin Released – It appears the Patriots linebacker group will look a little different next season and unfortunately for Shea McClellin, it looks like he won’t be part of it.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, McClellin was released on Monday, with Yates citing a “failed physical designation” as the reason behind his release.
It’s been a rough road for McClellin, who couldn’t build off of his first season as a member of the Patriots, with a series of concussions keeping off the field for all of 2017.
McClellin played in 14 games and totaled 41 tackles along with a sack during the team’s championship run in 2016, but it was his blocked field goal where he lept over the line of scrimmage in Week 14 against the Ravens and blocked a field goal in a 30-23 win that was one of his more memorable moments. That play led to the league banning the ability for players to leap over linemen moving forward, with the NFL citing safety concerns.
That performance against the Ravens saw him finish with eight tackles, improving on the seven he put up the week before against the Rams during his two most productive games of the season.
He appeared in all three postseason games, but in a limited role after he was in on just 7 snaps against Houston during the Divisional round. He saw more action the following week in the AFC Championship game where he played in 62% of the snaps against the Steelers but against Atlanta, the former first-round pick played in just 8 defensive snaps, although he was in on 24 special teams snaps during the team’s Super Bowl victory, with just Nate Ebner (28 special teams snaps) finishing ahead of him.
Despite the news, McClellin seemed to be in good spirits after he posted a thank you to the organization and the fans on Instagram.
The team will save approximately $2.3 million in salary cap space by letting him go.
Newcomer Adrian Clayborn is looking forward to getting to work.
Clayborn Excited to Get Started – Adrian Clayborn was in Foxboro on Monday, with the veteran defensive end getting familiar with his new surroundings as he begins his tenure with his new team
Clayborn spoke with one of the team’s reporters, with the Patriots posting a video with an interview with Clayborn talking about his first day at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s been great,” said Clayborn via the team’s official Twitter account. “Just meeting all the coaches, meet all the people in the building. Finally got a deal done, so I’m excited to get started.”
Clayborn said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far, saying that it’s the attention to detail that stood out during his discussions.
“It’s run well from the top to the bottom,” said Clayborn. “They’re very detailed and that’s how I pride myself, on the details of football, so I’m excited to get started, like I said.”
After spending seasons with Tampa Bay and Atlanta, Clayborn’s been on the wrong end of three losses against the Patriots, and he admitted that his impressions of the team before joining them were basically what he expected.
“Pretty much the same. They’re well-detailed, they know what they’re doing, they’ve got a system and they’ve definitely proven that in talking to everybody today,” said Clayborn.
When asked about now that he’s a Patriot, what he’s looking forward to most, Clayborn said he’s just excited to get started.
“Just playing football,” he said. “Doing what I love to do for another year, another couple years, and hopefully for a long time here. So I’m excited.”
Shelton Relishing His Opportunity – It hasn’t taken very long for newcomer Danny Shelton to settle in, but so far, he’s saying the right things.
The team had a conference call with Shelton on Monday, who after having spent time at the facility is looking forward to being a part of the team’s success.
“Part of the formula to winning is doing your job, and I see that everywhere at the facility with everyone just staying focused and having that same goal leading toward success, and that’s what I want to be a part of,” said Shelton via the Portland Press Herald.
The 24-year old said that his best attribute is his ability to stop the run, but he’s willing to do whatever he’s asked as he begins carving out a role with his new team.
“Honestly, I’m just going to go with whatever Coach wants me to do,” said Shelton. “My best (skill) is stopping the run, so if he wants me to play a defensive position I’ll do it and I’ll make sure I do my job to achieve success.”
Waddle and Fleming both in Dallas – Two of the Patriots key offensive lineman were in Dallas on Monday, which is an interesting development given the prospect the team is facing in potentially losing them.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, both LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming were each in town visiting with the Cowboys. It’s a notable development given the loss of Nate Solder and the fact that both filled important roles in helping the Patriots weather injuries in 2017.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2018
In Dallas, Fleming would be expected to bolster a Cowboys offensive line that had trouble last season, including the game against Atlanta where Chaz Green gave up four sacks to then-Falcons defensive end, Adrian Clayborn.
Whether or not either will receive an offer remains to be seen, but Fleming and Waddle each have Texas ties, with Fleming being from Fort Hood, while Waddle is from Columbus and played his college ball at Texas Tech.
Despite the free-agent frenzy going on around the league, Dallas seems to be taking its time. DallasNews.com points out that as of 7:03pm Monday night, the Cowboys are the only NFL team that has yet to sign a new player since free agency opened.
Former Lions and Dolphins tackle Ndamukong Suh has yet to plan a visit to New England.
No Suh Visit Yet – After the release of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh last week in Miami, there was some discussion about him being a fit here in New England after Ian Rapoport believed the Patriots would “be in the mix” for his services.
Unfortunately, so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
According to Yahoo Sports Insider Jordan Schultz, there is no visit currently planned for Suh with the Patriots at this point.
For now, Suh reportedly spent Monday in Los Angeles visiting with the Rams. He also reportedly visited recently with both the Saints and Titans, each of which reportedly impressed him.
Patriots Eying Easley – According to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, the Patriots are among NFL teams eying former Bills special-teamer Marcus Easley.
Easley, 30, suffered a knee injury in 2015 that kept him out of football for the last two years but is reportedly 100% recovered. He can double as a receiver and had pretty good speed before the injury, including a memorable moment that year where he surprised the Jaguars after he hauled in a 58-yard bomb for a touchdown against them as the Bills nearly pulled off the win in London.
Also reportedly joining the Patriots in their interest of Easley are the Giants.
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