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Buccaneers sign Robert Ayers to three-year deal

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed defensive end Robert Ayers to a three-year, $21 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport. The veteran defensive end was essentially the only edge rusher left on the market, and the Bucs hope he'll be able to help upgrade their pass rush.

In the official announcement of Ayers' signing, Jason Licht noted that Ayers could play all over the defensive line. He usually played defensive tackle in obvious passing situations for the Giants.

Ayers has just 26 sacks in his seven-year NFL career, but a whopping nine of those came last season with the New York Giants -- and that in just twelve games, too. Pro Football Focus liked his play so much that they have him as the third-best edge rusher to hit free agency this year. He's both a quality run defender and a reliable pass rusher, at least if his last few years are a solid indicator.

The fact that the Giants let him walk is a little worrisome, but given that they re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul and then went all-out and gave Olivier Vernon the richest defensive end deal in history, means it's most likely just a money thing. Ayers isn't a top-end pass-rusher after all, and those two guys are.

At 30 years old, Ayers won't be a long-term solution. But he may just represent a solid boost for the Buccaneers defensive line this season, while they find a long-term starter in the draft.