The New England Patriots acquired linebacker Akeem Ayers from the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday in an effort to bolster their linebacker corps in the wake of Jerod Mayo's season-ending injury. The teams will also swap draft picks, with the Titans getting the Pats' sixth-round choice and New England receiving Tennessee's seventh-round pick.
Ayers was a starter during his first three seasons with the Titans, but the 2011 second-round pick had played only 10 snaps this season as he recovered from multiple offseason knee surgeries. Ayers was a backup outside linebacker in the Titans' 3-4 scheme this season, though he also has OLB experience in 4-3 alignments, which is the base defense of the Patriots.
Spiller placed on short-term IR
The Buffalo Bills placed running back C.J. Spiller on injured reserve Tuesday with a designation to return. Spiller will be eligible to return to practice in six weeks on Dec. 3 and, if all goes well, he could play in Week 16 at the Oakland Raiders.
Spiller suffered a broken collarbone on a 53-yard run in the first half of Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings and underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fracture. Spiller is the team's leading rusher with 287 yards on 69 attempts, though he had yet to reach the end zone on the ground.
With Spiller out for at least two months and the team's second-leading rusher, Fred Jackson, also sidelined for at least a month with a groin injury, the Bills signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner. Tanner rushed for 149 yards on 56 carries with the Cowboys in 39 games from 2011-13. He is expected to join a running back depth chart that includes Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown.
Bowers suspended for PEDs
The NFL has suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers for two games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy. Bowers is the second Bucs player to be suspended for PED use this season, following Jorvorskie Lane's two-game suspension that was announced prior to the bye week.
Bowers had played in five of the Bucs' first six games, amassing six tackles and one sack in 159 snaps. Although he had been a reserve in the last three games, his absence will test a Tampa Bay defensive front that already lacked depth prior to the suspension. The Bucs' next two games are against the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.
Sproles returns to practice
Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles returned to the practice field on Tuesday and was optimistic that he will play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. When asked about his availability for this week's game, Sproles responded: "The way, I'm feeling, yeah."
Sproles sprained his MCL in the Eagles' Week 6 win over the New York Giants as he was being tackled by a Giants defender. Sproles was expected to miss one or two games with the injury, but the fact that he was able to get onto the practice field early this week is a good sign that he might not have to miss any action. The Eagles had a bye last week.
Sproles has been a key part of the Eagles high-powered offense this season, leading the team with 704 all-purpose yards, which is tied for 10th in the NFL.
Kerley signs 4-year extension
The New York Jets signed wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to a four-year extension worth $16 million with $5.4 million in guaranteed money, according to sources. This move comes as somewhat of a surprise after many thought that the team's recent trade for Percy Harvin meant that Kerley was the odd man out among the Jets receivers.
Kerley started the season strong, with 15 catches for 141 yards over the first three games, but has slumped badly over the last month. He has just seven receptions on 16 targets, totaling 60 yards in the last four games. Kerley led the Jets in receptions (43), yards (523) and targets (72) last year.
Thomas to miss 2-3 weeks
Thomas has 133 rushing yards on 30 attempts, and is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, with 26 receptions for 204 yards this season. The Saints (2-4) enter a critical stretch of their season as they try to get back into the playoff race, with their next three games coming against the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.