Bucs DE Robert Ayers - Photo by: Getty Images
Since signing Michael Johnson in 2014, the Buccaneers haven’t had much luck luring defensive ends to Tampa Bay, but they’ve got another one on the way to visit in former New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers. The Bucs visited with former Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson on Tuesday, but he re-signed with Carolina on a one-year, $3 million deal. Perhaps Ayers will be the veteran defensive end the team has sought over the past two years.
Tampa Bay missed on signing pass rushers Trent Cole, Derrick Morgan, Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy in free agency last year, in addition to Johnson this year. Ayers, who had a career-high 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles with the Giants last year, would be the sixth big-name defensive end that general manager Jason Licht has courted over the past two years.
Ayers, who was a first-round pick by Denver in 2009, only started 27 games with the Broncos in his five years in the Mile High City where he recorded just 12 sacks and three forced fumbles. He spent the last two years in New York where he has totaled 14.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 12 starts, including 11 last year.
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Ayers has just 26.5 career sacks over seven years, an average of 3.8 sacks per season. Ayers has averaged 6.6 sacks per year over the last three seasons. That’s less than current Tampa Bay defensive end Jacquies Smith has averaged – 6.75 per year – over the last two seasons.
The Bucs do want to add a veteran pass rusher, likely to replace George Johnson, who had no sacks last year after arriving in a trade with Detroit. Will Ayers be the one?
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The answer is “No”.
Iam so sorry that you wanted Vernon.Ayers is a DE that can help the bucs this year. Tampa did resign Matin Tampa bay all pro and now an OG that will help the offense. Be glad Tampa is making some deals.If you don’t like ! Go support another Team not the bucs. GO Bucs I’ve been here thru all the 0-26 years. from Day One with the bucs.
For the love of Mike, do I have to do this guy’s job for him..first he needs reminding of the alternative toMartin and that he should stop the penny pinching tactic…okay done. Now, he needs reminding if the guy’s name he’s supposed to be going after…you spell Vernon with a V not an A-y-e-r-s….
And there goes Vernon….how is our team getting better? we must be expecting one heck of an amazing draft….
I’m not a fan of Ayers either, not as a pass rusher anyway. I don’t know why J. McDaniels took him in the 1st round, but he’s turned out to be just what he was in college: a great run stuffer who doesn’t put much pressure on the QB. We already have a couple guys like that.
I guess I will make the feelings about Ayres unanimous and unfortunately EastEndBoy, Vernon Oliver is off the table. He went to the Giants.
But I wasn’t sold on him either although he does play from the right side where I believe Ayers plays from the left.
Vernon only had 7.5 sacks last year playing alongside studs like Cameron Wake and King Kong Suh.
Still, the guy had 9.5 sack last year whih I better than Vernon’s season total.
But at 29, he is a short term solution to a long term problem. He has two, maybe three years left in the tank.
Ya, I hear Ya. My fear right now is that we will look basically the same as last year, but worse on the OL (putting WINSTON at risk) and counting on some rookie DE to step in and change it all around for us….that sounds like a recipe for disaster…but I’m trying hard to push the fear deep, deep down inside…putting my faith in WINSTON that he’ll work some miracle…and hoping that we’ll come out if the draft having somehow fleeced every other team….trying hard….
Of the four DL we tried to sign last year. none of them set the world on fire. Cole(3 sacks)Morgan (4.5) Hardy (6)Smith(3.5).
Of course all of those sack numbers are better than Johnson who had none.
Very true drdneast, I never thought of it that way. Although I was never a fan of Morgan or Hardy anyway. Those are some really sad sack numbers for free agents last year. Hopefully this year is a repeat of that, and I wont be mad that we missed out on any of them again.
I agree drdneast…the only thing worse than those guys was…sadly…the scrubs we kept trotting out….Maybe we’ll find somebody in the draft….maybe…
I actually think I like Ayers for a temp DE. He seems to be a solid DE, although not a special pass rusher. I will take the 9.5 sacks and run to the house! Those are better, I believe, than every one of these FA DE’s that just got 16 mil per year!! Hopefully we keep him here til he signs and he can fill the void for a couple of years, which is all we need him for anyway. If the kids we draft are special enough to start, he will be a great veteran presence and provide excellent depth for our rotation.
We just need to get Ayers signed to give us 2 capable, if not solid starters at DE. Then we need to pick the best available fits at S and CB for starters, or more depth. Another RT to compete with Dotson and G. Cherrillus (sp) would be nice too. Then off to the draft!!
With the money Vernon got, what would Ayers want? Look at the guard we signed, average is getting paid a lot these days. Unless the price is right, might be better off drafting.
I’m more interested in seeing a healthy Jacq Smith for a full season, than signing Ayers
Yes, WiltheBrewer, but I think Ayers was supposed to play opposite of Smith!! They are supposed to be on the field together. Now who is it going to be?? Gholston, I guess. Or a rookie? Possibly only a 2nd or 3rd rounder as a starter???
He is not worth what it would take to sign him. Pretty much what we already have. Extra body is all.
I just don’t understand the buc fans. They want prime players for the bucs. Just look at what Tampa has done in FA’s. They resign All Pro Doug Martin and picked up OG from Seattle. So what this DE from NYGiants can still play and now with getting a DE in the mixed if he signs. Then Tampa may go after the CB or DE in Rd-1 Go Bucs. Just look at the overall picture.
Robert Ayers is the 3rd ranked DE in FA behind Derek Wolfe and Olivier Vernon at WalterFootball. Ahead of team mate JPP who just got a 1 year prove it deal for 10.5mil.
Ayers will not be cheap in the overpaid DE market. Ayers will want 10mil or more and will probably get it with the Jags now in pursuit.
I like Ayers, but he is not likely to change the Bucs fortunes at DE. I won’t eschew the idea, but the cost/benefit will be questioned, because he will definitely cost. The draft might be the best alternative if he proves to be too costly!
I like Ayers too including the fact he can stop the run on the way to the QB. We still need a rookie DE in the first round.
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