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Should the Detroit Lions consider trading Ezekiel Ansah?

Pro Football Focus proposed a trade involving the Lions’ pass rusher.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline drawing near, fans and pundits are putting on their general manager hats and trying to orchestrate their own trade proposals for their favorite team. For the Detroit Lions, much of the conversation is around tight end Eric Ebron, who has had an extremely disappointing start to the 2017 season.

The million-dollar question is how much value Ebron has at this point in his career, and who would be willing to take a chance on him. Pats Pulpit suggested swapping tight ends with the Patriots and getting an extra fifth or sixth-round pick in return, which would be a modest, but potentially fair, trade for Detroit

One name that I haven’t seen come up very often is Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah, like Ebron, has been a disappointment through six games; he only has 13 pressures and 4.0 sacks so far this season, three of which came against the Giants in Week 2. He’s on the final year of his contract so theoretically, if the Lions were at the point of no return with Ansah, it may make sense to get something for him before he hits free agency.

On Friday, Pro Football Focus actually proposed a trade involving Ansah. Here’s what it looks like:

Patriots get:

  • DE Ezekiel Ansah

Lions get:

  • RB Mike Gillislee
  • Patriots’ 2018 third-round pick

From the Patriots’ viewpoint, this move makes a ton of sense. They just lost pass rusher Dont’a Hightower for the year, their defense has struggled all season and they’re in a highly competitive division right now. Gillislee has been okay, rushing for four touchdowns and 3.8 yards per carry, but he’s quite replaceable.

However, from the Lions’ standpoint, this trade makes little sense. Gillislee is a decent power runner, but that is not what is holding back Detroit’s rushing attack. We’ve seen the Lions rotate a ton of backs with little success for one, clear reason: their offensive line. The Lions haven’t been able to open up holes and they already have a few power backs (Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner) that they trust enough. I honestly don’t see Gillislee as a huge upgrade over either.

As for the third-round pick, it turns out that’s almost completely worthless to the Lions. As Pro Football Focus mentions in the article, the Lions would likely get a third-round compensatory pick in 2019 if they let Ansah go in free agency next year.

Meanwhile, Detroit would lose their best pass rusher for the final ten games, leaving them extremely thin at what is likely already their thinnest position on the roster. Outside of Ansah and Anthony Zettel, every other defensive end on the roster has combined for 9 tackles and 1.0 sacks.

This move would essentially mean the Lions would be giving up on the 2017 season, which would be a horrible move. With Aaron Rodgers out for at least their next six games, the NFC North is wide open and the Lions have the best quarterback in the division.

And even if this was a “build for the future” move, it doesn’t do that effectively. It basically adds a completely replaceable part in Gillislee and gives Detroit a third-round pick a year early.

So while trading Ansah makes sense on the surface, if the Lions really want to move on from him, they may as well ride him out for the rest of the year and get their compensatory pick in 2019.


Would you trade Ezekiel Ansah for Mike Gillislee and a third-round pick?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    (165 votes)
  • 92%
    (1979 votes)
2144 votes total Vote Now

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.