Robert Ayers to Buccaneers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Timothy RappFeatured Columnist

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 20:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Robert Ayers #91 of the New York Giants in action against the Atlanta Falcons on September 20, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Falcons defeated the Giants 24-20.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive end Robert Ayers to a multiyear contract on Friday, per the team. On Saturday, Peter Schrager of Fox Sports passed along a photo of Ayers signing his deal:

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the news and noted that the deal is for three years and $21 million, with $10.5 million guaranteed. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports confirmed the report.

Ayers, 30, played well for the New York Giants in his two seasons there, notching 63 tackles, 14.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His 9.5 sacks in 2015 were a career best and invaluable for a Giants team that managed just 23.0 sacks last season, 30th in the NFL.

But the Giants were busy in free agency, re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul—who returned on a one-year deal—while also adding defensive end Olivier Vernon on a five-year, $85 million contract.

The Giants aggressively looked to rebuild their defense through free agency, signing cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison as well. That didn't leave much money for the team to retain Ayers, however, who would have been bumped from a starting job to make room for Pierre-Paul and Vernon.

Adding Ayers was a smart move for the Buccaneers, as he was the top pass-rusher left on the market. He'll give the team a dangerous and veteran presence off the edge and should be a reliable starter for the team immediately.

If he can replicate his performance from 2015, he could be one of the better values in the entirety of 2016's free-agent class.

The Buccaneers announced that they also added cornerback Brent Grimes in free agency. While they finished 6-10 a season ago, they are a team on the rise and have made moves to shore up their defense heading into the draft.


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