Giants sign DE Robert Ayers
Robert Ayers makes it a baker's dozen.
The defensive end Wednesday became the 13th veteran free agent to sign with the Giants, inking a two-year deal worth a reported $4 million. Ayers is the latest addition in what has been a three-week overhaul of the roster and an uncharacteristic spending spree in which the Giants have signed more new players than any team in the league.
Despite all of the new faces, Ayers is the first who will play defensive end, a position at which the Giants usually try to stockpile talent. He essentially replaces Justin Tuck, who recently signed a two-year, $11-million deal with the Raiders after nine seasons with Big Blue. Ayers has even been assigned Tuck's 91 jersey number.
"I'm able to play most of the positions, whether it was right defensive end, left defensive end, inside guy,'' Ayers said. "I've done a lot of move-around, floating type stuff. I think that's one of the things that the Giants saw that I could do, play a lot of different things.''
Ayers, 28, was a first-round pick of the Broncos in 2009. He had his best season for Denver in 2013 with 51/2 sacks. He also had 29 tackles and one forced fumble while making three starts for the AFC champions.
In his career, he has played in 72 regular-season games, with 27 starts. Ayers has contributed 141 tackles (101 solo), 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and seven passes defensed.
The Jersey City native is the third former Bronco to sign with the Giants and the fourth new Giant who participated in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in February. Ayers joins former teammates Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Trindon Holliday along with former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond.
Of course, Ayers doesn't have many good memories of being at MetLife Stadium for the Broncos' 43-8 loss to Seattle.
" 'Painful' isn't a strong enough word to describe that game,'' Ayers said. "It's a tough feeling, but it's only motivation for the future.
" . . . I'll be able to redeem myself for at least the next two years in this stadium, so I'm looking forward to it.''