If the Detroit Lions want to win, they need to make the tough decisions. Cutting ties with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah would be hard, but a good start.
His statistics bear out a decent career thus far:
- 2013 (14 games) – 8.0 sacks, 17 tackles
- 2014 (16 games) – 7.5 sacks, 39 tackles
- 2015 (16 games) – 14.5 sacks, 39 tackles
- 2016 (13 games) – 2.0 sacks, 21 tackles
- 2017 (14 games) – 12.0 sacks, 39 tackles
With these stats, it appears that 2016 was a rough season, but Ziggy got back on pace last year. In 2017, Ansah had his second best season and got back to double-digit sacks.
So, the Detroit Lions have a big decision in front of them. Tag Ansah for one year and pay him over $17 million for the upcoming season. Or sign Ziggy long-term and lock-up his services for another four years, probably for an average of around $16 million.
However, in my opinion, their best option is to let Ezekiel Ansah walk.
THE FRANCHISE TAG
The franchise tag keeps Detroit’s most talented pass rusher on the roster for one more year. This provides another year to assess a player that has struggled with injuries for the past two years (despite his 2017 numbers). This seems like the most logical choice for the Detroit Lions.
My issue with the franchise tag is that I don’t think it will work long-term.
Option one: let’s say Ansah has another injury-riddled season. Well, the Lions have wasted a big chunk of their cap, but they know not to resign Ziggy beyond 2018. This is definitely a worse case scenario, but a bad move for the Detroit Lions in terms of next season.
Option two: Ansah is healthy and has a terrific year. Now, you have a problem. Was this a one-year anomaly? Will this be the start of a stretch of three or four healthy years? Honestly, with Ansah turning 30 in May of 2019, I would lean towards a one-year anomaly. Plus, this scenario is very unlikely because his injuries tend to linger.