Tampa Bay missed on signing pass rushers Trent Cole, Derrick Morgan, Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy in free agency last year, in addition to Charles Johnson this year. But the team had a good feeling about signing former New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers, who visited the Bucs on Thursday before a visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On Friday, the Bucs got their man, signing Ayers to a three-year deal worth $19.5 million. The deal features $10 million in guaranteed money and could max out at $21 million.
“Robert is a versatile pass rusher who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line and has been successful both from the interior as well as the edge,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said. “He has posted 20 sacks over the past three years, is coming off the best season of his career and is an ideal fit for our 4-3 defensive system. Experienced pass rushers who can provide consistent pressure and disrupt an opponent’s passing game are critical to our defensive success and Robert will do all those things, along with providing veteran leadership.”
Ayers had a career-high 9.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles with the Giants last year and notched five sacks in his first year in New York in 2014. Ayers, who was a first-round pick by Denver in 2009, started only 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 9.5 sacks 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.
Ayers and Smith figure to be the team’s starting defensive ends as it stands right now. The Bucs will likely use a draft pick or two on the defensive end position to develop young pass rushers.
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
You know with our needs, what we have signed in free agency, and what we have. This is definitely a BPA kind of draft which is going to be fun to watch.
Exactly. Need a DE high not necessarily at 9.
Well…it’s an upgrade….
Now, can we put together a deal to trade up for Ramsey…
No trade up for Bosa.
I think I’m more scared by starting Conte-McDougald at safety again this year, then I am by starting Smith-Ayers at DE….but I agree we’re still not looking exactly strong at DE.
Nothing I would love more, but with the way things are going and a player they really want drops to them. I could see the bucs trading back.
I wonder if we could get Cleveland to swap No 1 picks with us and trade them Glennon. I love Glennon but if we could get a deal like that I think it would be worth it. I could see Cleveland doing that because lets face it Mike Glennon would be a huge upgrade over what they have now at QB
If that would be possible I”m definitely on board with it. Although I think Denver is more of a choice for Glennon. I very Elway kind of guy. If you can get a second for Glennon I’d take it in a heart beat.
Siege the FAs.
Well Buc fans who says Tampa doesn’t sign veterans. Tampa #1-Got martin back and paid him,no@2 Tampa sign mankins replacement No#3 Tampa went down the road and sign a very good CB and No#4 They finally got the DE that was left. A great haul in. Can’t wait into the next few days to see if a WR is coming on board or a trade for Glennon. How about going after a wr at #9-TREADWELL. GO BUCS Tampa did their homework
Everybody who is not happy about this move might be pleasantly surprised. He may very well be the steal of free agency! He is a former FIRST round draft pick so he has talent. A solid pass rusher who is also good at stopping the run. Mis-cast in Denver’s defense, he was not a good fit and didn’t play much. Went to NYG and played much better in a 4-3 defense with a little more playing time. People are crying about only having 9.5 sacks last year, but that is more sacks than all of those guys who just signed for a Brink’s truck worth of money. Ayers is MUCH more affordable. And, he only played in 11 games, if he had played all season, he absolutely would have been in double figures in sacks. Plus, it is a whole lot more than anyone the Bucs currently have, Although he is comparable to J. Smith. If they both can stay healthy all season, we can bring the kids we draft along slowly and really improve this defense quickly.
In fairness, this is absolutely an upgrade for us…you point out all the reasons…and we should be happy about it. I think I’m more concerned about relying on Smith at the other DE…and was hopeful that we would upgrade that….but maybe we still will…
Well done Bucs, well done! Patience wins the day. We are poised for another good draft with some flexibility at all positions. Go Bucs!
If we can just manage a veteran S now in FA, I will be the happiest Bucs fan around!! Maybe a R. Nelson or a R. Johnson to pair with re-signing C. Conte for a back-up with Tandy and that would be perfect!
This is a good signing. As many have posted, it feels like a BPA kind of draft with no glaring holes and plenty of potential everywhere. I still like the idea of the Bucs drafting DT Sheldon Rankins in the first and CB William Jackson III in the 2nd. Go Bucs!
Meh, I guess.
C’mon Pink, Give the guy a Meh+. lol.
Another good move. Doing the best with what’s available and not grossly overpaying. Hope we have another good draft.
I was more excited about the Grimes addition, but let’s see where it goes…We will definitely have more diversity in the 1st Rd draft conversation than we did last year
We have gone further in FA than I ever dreamed of. This really bodes well, and I am eagerly looking forward to the draft. We can quit FA now, and I would be extremely happy.
I want us to sign former FSU 1st rd DE Bjorn Werner who was misused as an OLB with the Colts.
Yep….good luck with that one
He’ll be 31 when the season starts. Almost identical concept to the Grimes signing. Paid a little too much for a player who has peaked. Will be a good stopgap and leader while rookies develop. Would rather see Jacquies as a pass rushing specialist than a starter. Gholston is stronger, more fierce, and is hitting his stride as a pass rusher, too.
I look at it this way. Are these free agents better than the players at the bottom of their positional depth chart? If so, the overall roster is improved. At the age of Grimes and Ayers, their worth may be to give the team a boost as the young draftees develop to replace them. Anything that helps the team get some wins this upcoming season, especially at home, is a plus for those of us sitting in the stands surrounded by enemy fans who were able to buy drdneast’s old seat.
Granted I do not analyze NFL salaries for a living or hobby, but this sounds like a decent contract for the Bucs. I like it
I like the moves. Getting competition at DE and CB. Would like to see them sign a veteran WR like Roddy White on the cheap and let him compete at WR. They are counting on the injured WR Kenny Bell to step up this year. They like his speed, have to work on consistently catching ball! I think last 2 WR’s on depth chart could be beaten out in camp this year!? Lastly, would like to see a FA pic up at LB and at Defensive Line! McCoy goes down and we are #%cked! Go Bucs! What say you…
Funny Scudog, but your reading comprehension skills really stink. I still may not renew, but it isn’t an automatic decision now since they resigned Martin. That is exactly what I wrote.
If I do give up my season ticket, they won’t have to put up with too many enemy fans.
My section, 219, has some pretty loyal fans who don’t sell off their tickets or the team for a few extra dollars like the high rollers in the Club Seats who the Glazers more closely identify with. A few do, but not many.
Makski, your analysis of Ayres was on point. This was what the team hoped was happening with Larry English but so far there has been no big change in his performance.
As an honor graduate from UT, my reading comprehension skills are certainly adequate enough to understand the often elementary level with which you write when you stray off the football path. You said you were canceling your season tickets after the price increase and wrote the Glazers to express your displeasure. Then, after the Martin signing you went into a backstroke and stopped the name calling. See, I remember.
As for being surrounded by enemy fans. You made an assumption that I sit in my Club Seats. A business associate purchases them from me to give to his clients. I sit in my lower bowl seats with the rest of the masses. I can assure you, when enemy fans are in those seats, a “loyal” commoner season ticket holder sold them…….especially around the end of the season. Selling tickets is not limited to the “high rollers” for whom you have so much disdain. In your world, a guy spending thousands more on Club Seats than the guy in Section 219 can’t as loyal a fan. Hmmmm, now there’s some logic.
I’m going to have to look to Section 219 next season and see if there are any enemy colors staining the otherwise all red and pewter adorned crowd.
drdneast: I went back and looked at one of your rants about the season ticket price increase. In that one you said you were “pretty sure” you were canceling your tickets. I guess you are still wavering. My guess is that you’ve already committed to buying them. Welcome back!
Scudog, yes I admit I am edging in that direction but have not completely made up my mind.
The class warfare the Glazers are currently waging on the General Admission fans is still extremely bothersome.
I didn’t hear an apology though for putting words in my mouth.
“Pretty sure” doesn’t qualify as “I am.”
I choose my words carefully.
Just back from a cruise and I’m glad to see all the pick ups. Looks like GM spent te money wisely. of course no impact players that we picked up, but solid playerts who can still play. Go Bucs!
Scudog, ask for your money back from UT, your reading comprehension still stinks.
Rereadd my second sentence, “they won’t have to put up with many enemy fans.”
In no way does that sentence state fans from other teams don’t sit in there. It implies less do.
The rest of your diatribe dired towards me is filled with so many errors because they are based on your “assumptions not what I am actually writing.
And yes, you are right to assume if a fan sells his ticket to an enemy fan just to make a proit, he is not a good fan. He is cut from the same cloth as Robert Hassen as far as I am concerned. Google him.
I will, however keep you updated on my sason ticket saga.
I just don’t like to be treated as a lap dog to the rich like Donald Trump’s new mutt, Chris Christie.
I suggest we just keep these discussions to football. Go to another cite if you want to talk politics.
I fully understood the intent of your posts, but I will acknowledge you do have a knack for hedging and being non-committal. Hey, perhaps you can be a politician.
Again with the juvenile name calling. It’s SCUBOG not “DOG”. But hey, if it makes you feel better, I’m glad for you.
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