Giants sign defensive end Robert Ayers
It has been a few years since the Giants’ vaunted pass rush has been among the league’s best.
They made a step toward bringing it back to prominence on Wednesday with the signing of former Denver defensive end Robert Ayers.
The deal is reportedly for two years and $4 million.
Ayers, who will be 29 as the season begins, was a first-round pick of the Broncos out of Tennessee in 2009 and has spent the first five years of his career in Denver.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me, coming to a great organization like this,” Ayers said in a statement. “They hate losing and they’re always about getting better and preparing and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the general manager and the owners, the coaches.”
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defender has been used at both defensive end and as a 3-4 outside linebacker in his career. He’s never quite lived up to his promise as a first-rounder and 2008 First-Team All-SEC player in college.
He has 12 sacks in his career, including a season-high 5 1/2 sacks last year. He saw extended playing time in the first six games of last season while All-Pro Von Miller was suspended, picking up 4 1/2 sacks in those six games.
The Giants lost a big part of their defensive line in Justin Tuck this offseason. He signed with the Raiders last month. Ayers will transition to a hand-down defensive end in New York, which plays a 4-3 defense.
“I’m able to play most of the positions, whether it was right defensive end, left defensive end, inside guy. I’ve done a lot of move-around, floating type stuff,” Ayers said. “I think that’s one of the things that the Giants saw that I could do, play a lot of different things.
New York was tied for 25th in the league last season with just 34 sacks. They also had just 33 sacks in 2012, after finishing third in the league in 2011 with 48.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.