“Robert is a versatile pass rusher who can play a variety of positions along the defensive line and has been successful both from the interior as well as the edge,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “He has posted 20 sacks over the past three years, is coming off the best season of his career and is an ideal fit for our 4-3 defensive system. Experienced pass rushers who can provide consistent pressure and disrupt an opponent’s passing game are critical to our defensive success and Robert will do all those things, along with providing veteran leadership.”
In 2015, Ayers set career highs in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (11) and forced fumbles (2). His team-leading 9.5 sacks in 2015 are the most by any player that entered free agency this offseason and his 22 quarterback hits were the 12th-most in the league last season. Ayers recorded at least one sack in each of the final five games, with his 7.5 sacks in Weeks 13-17 standing as the second-most in the league during that time. He has been one of Pro Football Focus’ top six 4-3 defensive ends each of the past two seasons.
Ayers (6-3, 275) comes to Tampa Bay after two seasons with New York (2014-15). He originally entered the league as a first-round selection by the Denver Broncos in the 2009 NFL Draft and spent his first five seasons in Denver (2009-13). In his seven-year career, Ayers has played in 96 regular season games, with 39 starts, totaling 204 tackles, 41 tackles for loss, 26.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has also played in six career postseason contests, with one start, notching nine tackles, three tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
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