The Patriots have made their annual acquisition and have picked up Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers. Ayers stands at 6'2.5, 255 lbs and is a run thumping linebacker to replace Jerod Mayo. This move will allow Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins to remain in their more natural outside linebacker positions. Alternatively, Ayers could potentially take Hightower's spot on the outside as Hightower calls the plays and stays in the middle of the defense.
The 2011 2nd round pick Ayers will be a free agent after this season, and has only played 10 snaps this season as he's been recovering from multiple off-season knee surgeries (both patellar tendons). The compensation from the Patriots is likely a late round option. Per Jason La Canfora, the Patriots have traded a 6th round pick for Ayers and the Titans 7th round pick. Ayers has to pass a physical for the trade to be official.
Ayers graded positively against both the run and at rushing the quarterback in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus. He's a viable coverage option.
The Titans season is effectively over, while the Patriots are pushing in some smaller chips as they make a push down the stretch. According to Ayers' brother, the Patriots acquired Ayers on Monday.
Ayers injured his patellar tendon prior to the 2013, but managed to play at an outstanding level through the injury. While playing injured, he overcompensated and managed to injure his other knee. He had surgery on one knee in January 2014 and one in March 2014. It's clear the injury wasn't as severe as Mayo's as Ayers was able to play through both.
The typical recovery from the injury takes six months, with severe cases taking a full year. Ayers injured his ankle during the preseason which likely delayed his return to the field. The linebacker was a menace in the 4-3 front, but the Titans off-season switch to the 3-4 left Ayers behind. The Patriots are expecting his return to a 4-3 front to rejuvinate his play.
The first report was broken by Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean.