Shortly after the Indianapolis Colts signed outside linebacker Akeem Ayers in September, general manager Ryan Grigson indicated that it wasn’t cheap.
Since then, many have been wondering just what exactly those contract details were, though they didn’t become immediately available. They now are, however, as Brent Fatig and Kyle Rapoza pointed out on Twitter.
According to Over the Cap, Ayers signed a two year deal with the Colts worth $4.2 million. His base salary for this year is $1.1M, while his cap hit is $1.8M. Next year, he has a $1.55M base and a $2.6M cap hit, while he’s due a $550,000 roster bonus next year as well. If the Colts were to cut him, they would save $2.1M in cap space next year.
That’s not a ton of money for Ayers, but the most interesting part is that he signed a two year deal with Indy. Now of course that doesn’t automatically mean much of anything, as players are cut with years remaining on their contracts all the time. So we don’t know the details as to the negotiations and whether Ayers wanted more years or stuff like that, but it’s definitely worth noting that he’s on a multi-year deal with the team.
The Colts are a team desperate for any pass rush help they can get, so adding Akeem Ayers was a good move. And with Robert Mathis and Erik Walden both set to become free agents next offseason (and with Mathis having clearly lost a step or two this year), it was a wise move for the Colts to lock Ayers up for 2017 too. They’ll surely look to add other pass rushers next year and should have plenty of cap room, but signing a guy like Ayers on a minor contract is a good low-risk move with potential upside.
Ryan Grigson seems to like Ayers, and he said earlier this year that he’s a guy who was playing out of scheme previously and who is best-suited to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, “and I think he’s never really had a chance to come off the edge and use that athleticism,” Grigson said in September.
So far this season, Ayers has impressed in limited reps. He has recorded seven tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits, a tackle for loss, and a pass defensed (plus a special teams tackle) in seven games. He’s second on the team in sacks and tied for fifth in quarterback hits, and with Robert Mathis really struggling the Colts have begun to significantly increase Ayers’s workload. That’s a good thing, and the 27-year old is an interesting pass rush option with some upside for the Colts.
They obviously liked him enough to sign him to a multi-year deal at a time of year where the contracts are typically minor, and he’s shown some flashes so far this year. So Akeem Ayers is definitely a guy to keep an eye on as the year goes on for the Colts.