Detroit Lions: Did Ziggy Ansah earn himself a long-term deal?
After posting his second three sack performance of the season, did Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah prove himself enough to earn a long-term deal?
One of the biggest questions heading into the Detroit Lions 2017 regular season was the future of defensive end Ziggy Ansah. A former first round selection by the Lions, fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, the team’s premier pass rusher is in the final year of his rookie deal in Detroit.
Following a 2016 season where Ansah recorded a career-low 2.0 sacks in 13 games, there were major questions about the young man’s future in the Motor City. Undoubtedly wanting a long term deal to remain in Detroit, the 28-year old defender had much to prove in 2017. But has Ansah done enough this season to earn himself a pricey, new contract?
Prior to last weekend’s 3.0 sack performance against the Cincinnati Bengals, I’m not sure the answer was “yes”. In fact, I’m still not certain. After posting a similar 3.0 sack game against the New York Giants in Week Two, Ansah went on to record just one sack in his next six games.
The talented defensive end has struggled with injuries for the past two seasons. A mysterious knee injury prevented Ansah from participating in the majority of training camp and the preseason. And a back ailment has hindered him as of late. These injury issues certainly have to be taken into account when considering the pass rusher for a long-term deal.
As of right now, Ansah is tied for 20th in the NFL in sacks with a total of 9.0. And there is one more game left in the Lions’ regular season. And remember, six of those sacks came in two contests. But the overall production is a plus, as it’s the fifth-year defender’s second highest sack total of his career. Ansah’s career-high came just two years ago with 14.5 sacks. He was also named to his only Pro Bowl in 2015, as well as making the NFL’s All-Pro second team.
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The possible return of Kerry Hyder Jr. next season (a 2018 free agent), plus the emergence of second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel (6.5 sacks) could have the Lions’ second guessing a long-term commitment to Ansah. Instead, Detroit may opt for a one-year prove it deal or they may opt to use the franchise tag to keep the dominate pass rusher in-house. This season, the price for using the franchise tag on a defensive end was a whopping $16.9 million.