Akeem Ayers

NFL Suspends LB Akeem Ayers

Veteran linebacker Akeem Ayers, who finished the 2017 season with the Giants, has been suspended for the first four weeks of the season, a league source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The reason for the suspension is not yet known.

Ayers finished out the 2016 season with 18 tackles, two sacks, and one interception for the Colts. He graded out as the No. 54 edge defender in the NFL out of 110 qualified players in that season, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics. Last year, he dressed for six games for the G-Men and registered one tackle.

Ayers, who is presently without a team, offers experience as a starter from his time with the Titans (2011-2013) and Rams (2015). In 2014, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots.

The 28-year-old linebacker’s played on five different teams since the 2014 season. His work with the Patriots earned him a two-year, $6MM deal with the Rams. Although Ayers started 11 games and played in all 16 St. Louis contests in 2015, the team did not keep him around for its Los Angeles move. Ayers then ventured to the Colts, for whom he played all 16 games in 2016.

The Giants signed him midway through last season, after Ayers spent plenty of time working out for various teams in hopes of another shot.

Giants Sign LB Akeem Ayers, G John Greco

The Giants announced that they have signed linebacker Akeem Ayers and guard John Greco. They also placed linebacker Keenan Robinson (quad) on injured reserve and elevated wide receiver Kalif Raymond from the practice squad. To make room, they cut defensive end Devin Taylor and waived wide receiver Ed EaganAkeem Ayers (vertical)

Ayers auditioned for the Giants in September and again on Nov. 8. In the most recent workout, he apparently made a good impression on coaches. Ayers finished out last season with 18 tackles, two sacks, and one interception for the Colts. He graded out as the No. 54 edge defender in the NFL out of 110 qualified players, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire last season, but he does offer experience as a starter from his time with the Titans (2011-2013) and Rams (2015). In 2014, he won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots.

Greco, 32, joined the Saints in early October but was released without having played a down. Injuries forced him to miss six total games from 2015-16 for the Browns, but he was effective while healthy. Last year, he graded as the league’s No. 18 guard among 75 qualifiers last season, per PFF. All told, Greco offers 111 games — and 70 starts — worth of experience.

The Giants aren’t playing for much at this point, but they are curious to see if Ayers, Greco, and Raymond can be worthwhile players for 2018.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/8/17

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

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Workout Updates: 10/24/17

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

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

  • LS Trent Gow (link)

Detroit Lions

  • WR Jake Kumerow (link)

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

NFC North Notes: Pack, Adams, Bears, Lions

Even after absorbing a violent hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan last week, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams may be in line to play in Week 5, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Adams was taken to the hospital following the hit — which resulted in a two-game suspension for Trevathan — and thankfully escaped with only a concussion. If available, the 24-year-old Adams would be a boon to Green Bay’s offense against the Cowboys on Sunday, as he’s recorded 16 receptions, 219 yards, and two scores thus far in 2017.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Bearsdecision to start rookie Mitch Trubisky over Mike Glennon speaks to the No. 2 overall selection’s development this year, opines Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. Trubisky, who started only 13 collegiate games before entering the NFL draft, was so raw that had to be taught how to take snaps under center in the spring, per Breer. But Trubisky has displayed so much improvement in the months since that Chicago formulated a plan to have the North Carolina product take starter’s practice reps in the fall. Of course, Glennon’s sub-par performance also made the Bears’ call a simple one, as the former Buccaneers ranks near the bottom of the league in nearly every quarterback metric.
  • The Lions took a look at tight ends Jace Amaro, Gavin Escobar, Cory Harkey, and David Johnson and linebackers Akeem Ayers, Andrew Gachkar, and Spencer Paysinger, today, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Detroit’s linebacker auditions are particularly notable, as the club just lost base package starter Paul Worrilow to an MCL strain. All three of Ayers, Gachkar, and Paysinger appeared in at least 15 games a season ago, but were mostly relegated to special teams duty.
  • Offensive tackles Andrew Wylie, Stephen Evans, and Storm Norton, plus running back Joel Bouagnon, worked out for the Packers on Tuesday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wylie went undrafted out of Eastern Michigan earlier this year, but signed with the Colts shortly thereafter. He took a spot on Indy’s practice squad until being waived in September. Bouagnon, too, is a rookie UDFA (Northern Illinois) who spent eight weeks with the Bears this summer.
  • The Bears auditioned safety Jordan Moore yesterday, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Moore, a rookie undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, signed with the Falcons earlier this year but has been on the workout circuit since August.

Seahawks Work Out Trio Of Defenders

The Seahawks were reportedly busy today, working out a trio of defenders. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter), the team auditioned linebackers Akeem Ayers and Jayrone Elliott and defensive end Branden Jackson.

Akeem Ayers (vertical)Ayers is the most notable of the defenders, as the former second-round pick has started 57 games since 2011. The 28-year-old spent the 2016 season with the Colts, compiling 21 tackles, two sacks, and one interception in 16 games. He was ultimately cut by Indy in early September. Ayers has also had stints with the Titans, Patriots, and Rams.

Elliott, a former undrafted free agent out of Toledo, spent the first three seasons of his career in Green Bay, where he collected 48 tackles and four sacks in 38 games. He was traded to the Cowboys in early September, but the team ended up waiving him last week. Meanwhile, Jackson spent his entire rookie campaign with the Raiders in 2016, collecting a single tackle in three games.

The Seahawks could use some reinforcement at defensive end, especially with Dion Jordan and Malik McDowell sitting on the NFI list. Their need for a linebacker is a bit more questionable, as the team is currently rostering four backups in Marcus Smith, Dewey McDonald, D.J. Alexander, and Michael Wilhoite.

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.

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.