New Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia won’t have to figure out how to replace the team’s best pass rusher.
Defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah will get the franchise tag, the team announced. He’ll get about $18 million on the franchise tag, making him the highest paid defensive end in the NFL according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.
While it’s debatable if Ansah should be the highest paid defensive end in football, he’s clearly the best player in Detroit’s front four and a difference maker. Ansah bounced back very well last season from an injury-plagued 2016. He got 12 sacks, just short of his career best of 14.5 sacks in 2015. Ansah, the fifth pick of the 2013 draft by the Lions, will be a key piece of Patricia’s defense along with cornerback Darius Slay and linebacker Jarrad Davis.
The Lions can continue to work out a long-term deal with Ansah, and that’s in their best interests to lower his 2017 cap number.
The Lions have been 9-7 the last couple years, and didn’t want a situation like a few years ago when top defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh left in free agency. Patricia will be trying to build on those last two seasons, and having Ansah on the defensive line is a good start to that.
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