The Bucs signed Ayers during the 2016 free agency period. He was due to make $6MM this season, but Tampa Bay won’t be charged with any dead money for cutting bait on a three-year agreement after two seasons.
Despite Ayers having completed his age-32 season, he remained a high-end producer in Tampa. Pro Football Focus graded the defensive end as the No. 10 edge defender in the league last season. He produced both as a pass rusher and a run defender, but Tampa Bay will turn to a younger player to replace him. Vinny Curry will join the Bucs, following Beau Allen, Will Clarke and Mitch Unrein in what’s looking like a near-total revamp around Gerald McCoy.
A former Giants and Broncos cog with experience as an end in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, Ayers figures to generate interest on the open market. Although, he wasn’t especially durable with the Bucs, playing in just 10 games in each of his two seasons. His sack total plummeted from 9.5 with the 2015 Giants to six with the ’16 Bucs to 2.5 last season.
Ayers will be set for a 10th NFL season if he signs elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.