The Buccaneers have bolstered their defensive line in recent days with free agency and even, with a significant trade acquiring Jason Pierre Paul from the Giants. Caught up in the shuffle was one of the veteran leaders of the past two seasons, Robert Ayers, who was released last Saturday.
Now, Ayers will seek his next gig not far from where he’s been playing home games recently, Orlando and the NFL owners meetings that get underway this week.
More on that, momentarily.
First, Ayers signed a three year $19.5 million free agency deal with the Buccaneers in 2016. He was due to make $6 million this season with $1 million of that due guaranteed to him last Saturday.
The Bucs had been negotiating with Eagles released DE Vinny Curry, and when he agreed last Saturday afternoon, that meant Tampa Bay was moving on from Ayers without the million dollar payday.
Ayers never lived up to the veteran potential that the Bucs had hoped for in signing him away from the Giants. After posting 6.5 sacks in 2016, he had only two sacks last year. He also battled a high ankle sprain in 2016 and shoulder and concussion problems in 2017 and missed a total of eight games in his stint in Tampa Bay.
Now fast forward to the last week, where Ayers and his family were on a Disney vacation cruise, when he found out about his release. And, he’s been posting frequently, about on social media:
Now that “his ship has come in,” Ayers will get to finding a place of employment this season.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport already relayed that once his cruise concluded he would be coming to central Flrorida with the intent to meet with teams:
Free agent pass-rusher Robert Ayers will be in Orlando for the league’s annual meetings… and he’ll talk to teams there. pic.twitter.com/bm4nUqUfw6
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 21, 2018
Rapoport went on to say that he will also actively seek an NFC South team, which would afford him the opportunity to play the Bucs twice a year. However, at this point the Saints and the Panthers have almost nothing to offer Ayers, as they are both nearly at the cap limit on Sunday night.
Atlanta currently, has only around $7 million to spend. So, unless they release or rework a prominent salary, Ayers would likely have to take a smaller deal there.
There are three NFC teams, the 49ers, the Bears, and the Rams who as of Sunday night all have at least $35 million to spend, and could be possibilities.
Ayers is a passionate player and you have to believe he can get at least a one year deal somewhere.
Now about those photos with Mickey and Donald…..
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