The Lions have chosen to designate defensive end Ziggy Ansah as their franchise player, assuring the talented pass rusher will remain in Detroit for the 2018 season.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) February 27, 2018
Ansah, 28, is coming off of a 12-sack season in 2017 and would’ve commanded top-flight money had he hit the open market. The move gives the Lions more time to work out a long-term deal with Ansah, or to find a replacement in the draft if they decide to part with him after the season.
Initially thought of as a raw prospect when he was selected with the fifth-overall pick in 2013, Ansah has played extremely well for the Lions when he’s been healthy. In five seasons, he has registered 207 tackles and 44 career sacks.
His rare combination of length and speed make him a force against both the run and pass. However, Ziggy has missed five games over the past two seasons and even when he has been out there, his injuries have affected his productivity.
With this franchise tag, Lions G.M. Bob Quinn has given himself options at the very least. Plus, he will get to observe how well Ansah plays under new defensive-minded head coach Matt Patricia during his first season.
Letting Ansah walk would’ve been a risky move for Detroit with a front-four that is average at best, even with a healthy Ansah. This way, the Lions can see what they have in some of there other young defensive linemen, such as Anthony Zettel, Kerry Hyder and A’Shawn Robinson for one more season before making a long-term decision on Ziggy.