Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys Free Agency: Is Robert Ayers An Option?

Robert Ayers has never lived up to his first-round hype, but he has been a solid role player for the Denver Broncos in the past few years. Drafted out of the University of Tennessee in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Ayers has never solidified the starting defensive end position in Denver. He has been a quality rotational player for the Broncos, and he could be a starter for the Dallas Cowboys if he gets some good coaching from Rod Marinelli.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, Ayers had his best statistical season to date in terms of rushing the quarterback. He had 5.5 sacks, and he had a ton of pressures on the quarterback. Dallas has had problems addressing the defensive line so far in the offseason. Although they got their man in Henry Melton, there are still legitimate holes at both defensive end positions.

George Selvie played exceptionally well in 2013, but there are concerns if he is the long-term starter in Dallas. If the season started today, the player opposite of Selvie would be Jeremy Mincey. The former Bronco has fallen out of flavor since he got released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Mincey is a good fit for this defense because he has the versatility to play defensive end or defensive tackle.

With around $5 million in cap space leftover, the Cowboys could very wisely sign Ayers to a 2-year, $8 million deal. These 2-year deals are becoming very eminent in Dallas because ownership sees that they can bring in guys and make them contributors because of the teaching Marinelli does. Dallas will not have a stud pass rusher, but they will have an array of players that could sack the quarterback. Ayers could be one of those guys that could come in every few downs and make an impact.

At 6’3″, 275 pounds, Ayers has good size to play as a defensive end in the 4-3. Ayers played in the 4-3 defense with the Broncos, and the scheme wouldn’t be new to him. Sometimes, it takes longer than expected to develop in the NFL. Ayers never shined in Denver, but possesses the combination of speed and explosiveness that will allow him to be a  quality player for an NFL defense. With Marinelli working his magic, Ayers would be a nice fit in Dallas.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Free Agency Dallas Cowboys Henry Melton Robert Ayers

  • David

    If they got him cheap I would not mind seeing what Marinelli could do with him. If they then drafted a DE in the 2nd round like a Crichton, Reilly or Murphy I could see a nice rotation..

    • Ryan Ratty

      You know me, David. I love Crichton, but I don’t think he will last till the middle of the second round. I think he’s off the board late-first or early-second.

      • David

        That could be a possibility.

        • Ryan Ratty

          Through a tradeback… absolutely.

  • Old Frog

    I like the way this sounds. We trade Ware for Ayers and save $18 million over 2 years. If he gets 6 or more sacks/year I’d say that’s a good deal.

    • David

      I actually think its $25 million over two years.

      • Old Frog

        I thought we owed Ware $26 million over the next 2 years (cash not cap) and Ryan is suggesting Ayers can be had for $8 million. Sounds like a steal. Either that or Ware was way overvalued.

        • Ryan Ratty

          Ayers would provide similar and maybe even better production than Ware because he has stayed healthy for the most part of his career. Thanks for reading, guys!

  • Old Frog

    The flip side of this story is why in the world did the Broncos pay Ware so much but let Ayers go for so cheap?

  • Ed

    From the Cowboys’ newfound perspective, the nail in Ayers coffin is the fact that he will turn 30 in September. That deal is a non-starter from the get go.

  • Sergio Surroco

    6.4 million in cap space…