Akeem Ayers

NFL Workout Updates: 9/13/17

Today’s workout updates, with nearly all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Workout Notes: Patriots, Jets, Bills

The Patriots auditioned some players of note this week, including linebacker Akeem Ayers, quarterback Thad Lewis, and wide receiver Jeremy Ross (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com).

Ayers has some history with New England after playing on their 2014 Super Bowl championship team. Last year, Ayers appeared in all 16 games for Indianapolis and recorded two sacks.

Linebackers Nicholas Grigsby and Antwione Williams also showed their stuff for the Pats.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s other workouts from around the NFL:

Giants Work Out Dan Williams, John Greco

The Giants worked out defensive tackle Dan Williams, offensive lineman John Greco, and linebacker Akeem Ayers on Tuesday, a source tells Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). New York also took a look at former Lions linebacker Antwione Williams, tweets Dan Duggan of NJ.com.Dan Williams

[RELATED: Giants Work Out LB Jonathan Freeny]

New York already boasts perhaps the league’s best nose tackle in Damon Harrison, so Williams — if signed — would serve as a backup, as he isn’t a three-technique. Williams hasn’t drawn a lick of interest since being released by the Raiders, and that’s probably a reflection of the declining need for 330-pound defensive tackles and Williams’ age (30). However, Pro Football Focus was a fan of Williams’ work in 2016, ranking him a solid 44th among 127 qualified interior defensive linemen.

The Giants could use help along the offensive line, but that’s mostly at tackle, as the club is presumably set at guard/center with Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, and John Jerry. Greco could perhaps unseat Jerry at right guard, but he doesn’t play offensive tackle, which is where New York is truly below-average. Released by the Browns last week, Greco has dealt with injuries in each of the past two seasons (six total missed games) but has performed well when on the field.

Ayers, 28, signed with the Colts just before the 2016 season got underway, and ultimately spent the entire season with the club. He appeared in all 16 games and posted two sacks. Williams, a 2016 fifth-round pick, played 203 defensive snaps for Detroit a season ago, and also saw plenty of special teams action (196 snaps). The 24-year-old wasn’t claimed on waivers over the weekend, and he’d be a youthful reserve option for New York.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Release LB Akeem Ayers

The Colts have released veteran linebacker Akeem Ayers, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (on Twitter). As a vested veteran, he will be a free agent and not subject to waivers.

Ayers was cut loose by the Rams this time last year, a surprise since he had started eleven games for the club in the previous season. Ayers didn’t have that large of a role with the Colts in 2016, but his release was not expected.

Ayers appeared in all 16 games for Indy last year, but did not make a start. He finished out with 18 tackles, two sacks, and one interception. Ayers graded out as the No. 54 edge defender in the NFL out of 110 qualified players, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics.

The Colts plan to start John Simon and Jabaal Sheard at the outside linebacker spots in their 3-4 scheme. Rookie Tarell Basham and free agent additions Barkevious Mingo and Sean Spence will serve as their backups.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Sign Akeem Ayers

The Colts have signed outside linebacker Akeem Ayers, as Mike Chappell of CBS4 tweets. In related moves, the team has waived cornerback Neiko Thorpe and added cornerback Frankie Williams to the practice squad. The team has confirmed the moves via press release. Akeem Ayers (vertical)

Ayers, a second-round pick of the Titans in 2011, was cut by the Rams over the weekend. That move surprised a lot of people since Ayers started eleven games for the club last season. Los Angeles cleared his entire $3.3MM of his cap charge from the books by dropping him and they hoped to re-sign him to a cheaper deal after the 53-man cutdowns were through. Unfortunately, for L.A. the Colts have spoiled those plans.

The release of Thorpe could mean that Darius Butler will be ready to go for Week 1. The Colts, of course, are thin at CB following Vontae Davis‘ injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Cut Akeem Ayers, Move To 53

The Rams have announced the following moves as part of moving their roster to 53 players:

Cut:

Placed On IR:

Ayers is perhaps the most surprising release, given that the 2015 free agent signee started 11 games for the club last season. Los Angeles will clear all $3.3MM of his cap charge by parting ways.

Contract Details: Morgan, Gilchrist, Cameron

Here are some details on several of the new contracts agreed to or signed by free agents within the last few days:

AFC deals:

  • Derrick Morgan, OLB (Titans): Four years, $27MM base value. $10.5MM fully guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Marcus Gilchrist, S (Jets): Four years, $22MM base value. $10MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
  • Jordan Cameron, TE (Dolphins): Two years, $15MM base value. $5MM fully guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Paul Fanaika, OL (Chiefs): Three years, $6.5MM. $1.75MM signing bonus. Incentives and escalators available (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Alan Branch, DT (Patriots): Two years, $4.3MM base value. $700K signing bonus. Option for 2016 (all Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Two years, $3.35MM base value. $1.15MM fully guaranteed. $400K signing bonus. Third year voids (all four Twitter links via Wilson).

NFC deals:

  • Jasper Brinkley, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $6.5MM base value. $2MM guaranteed, $2MM option bonus in 2016 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Akeem Ayers, LB (Rams): Two years, $6MM base value. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.3MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Andrew Gachkar, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $5.2MM base value. $1.2MM signing bonus. Up to $1MM in annual incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Nick Fairley, DT (Rams): One year, $5MM base value. $1.5MM roster bonus in 2015. Sack and playoff incentives available (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Erik Pears, OL (49ers): Two years, $4.7MM base value. $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Kurt Coleman, S (Panthers): Two years, $2.8MM base value. $600K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • O’Brien Schofield, DE (Falcons): One year, $1.7MM base value. $255K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Chris Conte, S (Buccaneers): One year, $1.5MM base value. $1.25MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of ESPN.com).

Rams To Sign Akeem Ayers

8:28pm: Ayers’ deal is for $6MM, with $3MM guaranteed, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It could reach as much as $10MM with incentives.

7:19pm: The Rams have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with linebacker Akeem Ayers, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).

The coaching staff has familiarity with the former Titan, writes Nick Wagoner of ESPN (via Twitter). Head coach Jeff Fisher never overlapped with Ayers tenure, but Gregg Williams and Frank Bush both spent time with him in Tennessee.

Ayers experienced success in 2014 after being acquired by the Patriots via trade midseason. The team was able to move on from him without hesitation after signing Jabaal Sheard, who Ben Volin of the Boston Globe considers an upgrade at the position (via Twitter).

NFC Notes: Bradford, Eagles, Seahawks, Saints

Before the Eagles finalized their acquisition of Sam Bradford, there were other teams in the mix for the former first overall pick, says Peter King of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter). Per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), the Browns may have been one of those teams. However, no other club was willing to give up as much as Chip Kelly and the Eagles, who had eyed Bradford for weeks and believe he has the goods to be a franchise quarterback, according to Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com.

As we recover from what’s been a surprising and hectic day of action around the NFL, let’s round up a few more leftover NFC items….

  • Former Dolphins guard Shelley Smith, who was just cut by the team earlier today, already has a visit lined up with the Seahawks for Wednesday, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Seattle is in the market for some interior line help after trading Max Unger and losing James Carpenter in free agency.
  • Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio today, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis acknowledged that the team will “obviously” look to add another tight end after trading Jimmy Graham, and added that he never asked Drew Brees to restructure his contract this offseason because it “wasn’t necessary for us” (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • The 49ers aren’t in the running for their own free agent cornerback Perrish Cox, writes Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link) suggests keeping an eye on linebacker Akeem Ayers as a potential free agent target for the Rams, and Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link) agrees that the club has interest.

East Notes: Fins, Clay, Pats, Ayers, Washington

The Dolphins would like to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay, and are preparing an offer with the intention to submit it to Clay’s representatives in the coming weeks, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Clay, who turns 26 in about three weeks, earned $1.431MM in base salary last season, and should be in for nice pay increase despite a somewhat disappointing campaign that saw him catch 58 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns. I profiled Clay as an extension candidate before the season, and while the four-year, ~$21MM contract I projected at the time now seems a tad high, a $4MM AAV isn’t out of the question.

Let’s look at some more notes from the two East divisions:

  • In the same article, Jackson passes along some other Dolphins news, including Miami’s visit with defensive tackle prospect Danny Shelton, and league-wide interest in Dolphins executives Chris Grier and Adam Engroff.
  • The NFL bears significant responsibility in the DeflateGate scandal, argues Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Despite vowing to investigate the matter fully, the league hasn’t discovered much in the way of evidence or intent, writes Florio. Instead, the Patriots and the NFL as a whole are now being tarnished in what is the most important week in the league calendar.
  • Akeem Ayers doesn’t have any hard feelings towards the Titans regarding the trade that sent him to the Patriots, as the linebacker tells Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “They made a decision that they felt like they needed to make,” said Ayers. “…I just took it as motivation and especially being here on this team, I feel like they did me a favor, honestly…I came here and I did a good job here and we’re going to the Super Bowl.” New England acquired Ayers and a seventh-round pick for a 2015 sixth-rounder. A free agent at season’s end, the 25-year-old Ayers registered 20 tackles and four sacks in nine games with the Pats.
  • Washington would like to speak with Packers senior personnel executive Alonso Highsmith about its director of personnel position, but hasn’t heard back from Green Bay as of yet, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.