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Adrian Clayborn looks to be one of the top edge rushers left in free agency

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This is very bad news for the Atlanta Falcons, who may not be able to compete with a bidding war.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Early this offseason, I widely expected the Atlanta Falcons to bring back Adrian Clayborn on a new deal. He definitely outplayed his two-year, $8.5 million deal signed in 2016, and was probably looking at north of $6 million per year.

That was a little too hopeful. Clayborn is hitting the market at the perfect time: the top players are gone. As we see every free agency, your dream picks end up signed or franchised by their current team.

How did this happen so quick? This was already a week class for pass rusher free agents. Of course, teams rarely let a top pass rusher hit the market. So this year is not terribly different from other years.

Ziggy Ansah was probably the top player who had a chance at hitting free agency. He’s had an inconsistent career, but is young and has shown some serious improvement in recent years.

Who else?

We didn’t expect DeMarcus Lawrence to get anywhere close to free agency after a dominant 2017. So who is even left? I’m going to take a look at NFL’s Top 101 free agents.

It feels like only four years ago Jeremiah Attaochu could have been the savior for the Atlanta Falcons. As it turns out, he is a bum. 10 career sacks, with only two in the last two seasons.

Charles Johnson was just cut by the Carolina Panthers. It probably has something to do with him being old and terrible.

Speaking of washed up, Junior Galette is both free from jail and free from contractual requirements. I’d rather bring back Kroy Biermann.

I guess the top prospects here are Julius Peppers, Alex Okafor, and this list gets sad quick, like Pernell McPhee, and Lamarr Houston sad. Clayborn may legitimately be the only starter in the whole group.

What’s this mean for the Falcons? They are probably out of the running for Clayborn. Teams will have money and will be trying to fill in needs. He could easily average out more than $8 million per year, with Spotrac calculating his market value at three-years, $28 million.

The Falcons may have to look at replacements in this year’s draft.