Instead of taking multiple free agent visits, former Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers plans to meet with teams at the NFL’s annual meeting in Orlando, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link), who reports the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers all have interest in Ayers.
New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina, of course, all reside in the NFC South, meaning each club was able to see Ayers’ production from a close vantage point over the past two years as he played for Tampa Bay. The Saints, for their part, have addressed their pass rush by re-signing defensive end Alex Okafor, while the Panthers upgraded their interior by inking Dontari Poe. The Falcons haven’t yet added any new players on the edge, but they have met with free agent Pernell McPhee.
Ayers is now entering his age-32 campaign, but he’s still an outstanding pass rusher. While Ayers posted only two sacks a season ago, he managed 28 pressures (a better indication of production) and graded as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 10 edge defender. Ayers also offers experience in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, although injuries will be a question mark, as he’s only played in 10 games in each of the past two seasons.
After being cut by the Buccaneers earlier this week, Ayers is now part of a free agent edge class that also includes McPhee, Connor Barwin, Junior Galette, Derrick Shelby, and Kony Ealy, among others.
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