The Patriots had been relatively quiet since the start of free agency Wednesday, but that changed Friday as the team made three moves.
Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn agreed to a two-year deal worth a maximum value of $12.5 million, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Ex-Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill also came to an agreement with the team, a source told ESPN's Field Yates. And former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Matt Tobin reached a one-year deal with the Patriots, a source told ESPN's Mike Reiss.
New England had kept running back Rex Burkhead, special-teamers Nate Ebner and Brandon King, and traded for cornerback Jason McCourty earlier this week, but the Patriots had lost mainstays Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Malcolm Butler and Danny Amendola via free agency.
Clayborn, who turns 30 in July, led the Falcons with a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2017. His total included a franchise-record six sacks in a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Known for his relentless effort, Clayborn also had a team-high 17 quarterback hits this past season. He played 526 defensive snaps.
Clayborn could help the Patriots' pass rush, which noticeably needed a boost in Super Bowl LII. Trey Flowers, who led the team in 2017 with 6.5 sacks, is the Patriots' top player at defensive end, and he returns in 2018, the final year of his contract.
The Patriots relied on Flowers heavily last season, as they struggled to build depth at the position behind him. Clayborn, who is the Patriots' first signing of a player from another team since free agency began Wednesday, could help ease some of that burden in 2018.
The Patriots also have second-year player Deatrich Wise Jr. at the position, and he showed promise after joining the team as a 2017 fourth-round pick out of Arkansas, playing in every game and totaling five sacks.
Before free agency, Clayborn told ESPN, "I got some years left in me."
He indicated an agreement with the Patriots on Instagram on Friday afternoon, posting the team's logo with the caption: "Dope."
Clayborn began his career as a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie in 2011 and he posted 7.5 sacks -- his previous benchmark. However, he battled injury issues during his four seasons with the Bucs, playing in just one game during the 2014 season and playing just three games during the 2012 campaign.
The injury bug again hit Clayborn with the Falcons in 2016, when he was placed on injured reserve with a ruptured biceps, which prevented him from finishing the season and playing in Super Bowl LI. He revealed he contemplated retirement following that injury but had a discussion with his wife and decided to continue playing.
Hill adds to a backfield that lost Lewis to the Tennessee Titans.
He was drafted by the Bengals, but the writing was on the wall for the 25-year-old as it became known that Cincinnati coveted a running back in the 2017 NFL draft and eventually took Joe Mixon in the second round.
He had a successful rookie season in 2014, rushing 222 times for 1,124 yards and 9 touchdowns. But he has never been the same since fumbling late in the 2015 AFC wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, ultimately contributing to an eventual loss. Since that game, Hill has combined for 955 yards and nine touchdowns in the past two seasons and lost playing time to Mixon last year.
With Burkhead and James White locks to make the Patriots' roster at running back, Hill projects to compete with Mike Gillislee and veteran special-teamer Brandon Bolden for a roster spot. One area in which he could make his mark is as a power rusher; the 230-pound Hill is the biggest running back on the Patriots' roster.
As for the 6-foot-6, 303-pound Tobin, his addition highlights how the Patriots must make contingency plans at left tackle after Solder signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the Giants as one of the NFL's top free agents. After entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa in 2013, Tobin has been with the Eagles (2013-16) and Seahawks (2017), appearing in 57 games, with 21 starts.
Tobin joins 2017 undrafted free-agent Cole Croston and 2017 third-round draft choice Antonio Garcia on the Patriots' depth chart at left tackle. It's possible the team could also re-sign two of its backup offensive tackles from last season -- LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming.
ESPN's Katherine Terrell, Mike Reiss and Vaughn McClure contributed to this report.