The deal is for one year, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter
Detroit has struggled with its pass rush throughout the preseason, failing to register a sack in the first two preseason games before finally reaching the quarterback against Tampa Bay. It has been an area of concern and need for most of the offseason, one that was not really addressed by the Lions during the draft, with fourth-round pick Da'Shawn Hand.
Ayers could slide into a rotational role almost immediately for Detroit. It's the second front-seven acquisition the Lions have made in the past week after the club traded for linebacker Eli Harold on Thursday.
The 32-year-old Ayers has 264 career tackles in 120 games with 35 sacks and nine forced fumbles. He has had at least five sacks in a season in four of the past five years during time with Denver, the New York Giants and Tampa Bay.
Lions coach Matt Patricia was explaining earlier Monday, in discussing Harold, how watching scheme and what a player has done goes into either trading for or signing a player later in camp (or during the regular season). The same would apply for Ayers with the Lions, which would be his fourth NFL team.
"You have to do a good job in the evaluation and see something on tape that says, OK, there is a certain skill set there that you like as opposed to looking at scheme, where you're not really sure from that standpoint," Patricia said. "So you really try to evaluate -- what's the skill set that he has that I think I can use that would benefit us -- and then try to get him into those situations as fast as possible so you can evaluate him in practice.
"We have a couple days here to be able to do that and then the game and things like that. But you're right, you do have to have a little bit of a plan when they come in as far as what exactly did you see that you think he would be able to do for you and then put him in that role as fast as possible to see if that's true or not."
Patricia said it wasn't an advantage or disadvantage for a player to come in that late -- that it depends on the individual and how he takes to doing what he's asked to do.
Ayers, a first-round pick by Denver in 2009, has appeared in at least 15 games in four of the past five years.