The New England Patriots are going into the 2017 NFL season as the defending champions and they will face the Kansas City Chiefs on Opening Night. The Patriots already released their 53-man roster but they are still looking for ways to improve it as the season progresses, as well as update their information on some of the free agents.
One of the players linked to the Patriots at the moment is outside linebacker Akeem Ayers. The 28-year-old was acquired during the 2014 NFL season and he helped the team beat the Seattle Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Ayers was one of the surprise cuts this past weekend when the Indianapolis Colts decided not to include him on their 53-man roster.
Akeem Ayers signed a two-year deal with the Colts last year and he was brought in to help some of the team’s young linebackers. According to Andrew Ites of FanSided, Ayers did not impress the Colts enough during the preseason so they just decided to release him.
The Colts’ loss is the Patriots’ gain as New England brought in Ayers for a workout on Wednesday along with five other players, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Besides Ayers, the Patriots also took a good look at fellow linebackers Nicholas Grigsby and Antwione Williams, tight end Ryan O’Malley, wide receiver Jeremy Ross, and quarterback Thad Lewis.
Reiss added that the Patriots also had workouts on Tuesday for tight ends Cody Riggs, Channing Stribling, Jared Carter, and Jomal Wiltz, as well as tight end Alex Ellis. It’s not a surprise move by the Patriots to bring in players for workouts after the final 53-man rosters are announced. The Patriots are known to update information on released players just in case they need to sign a replacement.
The reporter also pointed out that the Patriots could be looking to reunite with Akeem Ayers since the depth at his position he plays is currently thin. The Patriots put Shea McClellin on the injured reserve and re-signed Brandon Bolden, who was released two days ago. Reiss also noted that Ayers could play a key role for the Patriots this season if he gets signed.
“A player like Ayers, assuming he were able to turn back the clock to his 2014 form, could help fill that void on a unit that plays sub packages about 80 percent of the time.”
Ayers was acquired from the Tennessee Titans in 2014 wherein he averaged 42.8 defensive snaps per game and finished the season with 16 tackles, four sacks, and one interception. If Ayers can recapture his 2014 form, he could very well be a key asset in the Patriots’ attempt to win back-to-back championships.
However, it should be noted that these are just rumors at the moment and the Patriots usually hold workouts after the 53-man roster cuts. The Patriots might sign Ayers but they could also sign a different player based on the team’s needs and the information they know on players.
According to Pats Pulpit, the Patriots still need a third string quarterback after trading Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. Thad Lewis could be an option but he is not eligible to join the practice squad, only the active roster.
[Featured Image by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]