Ezekiel Ansah finished his 2017 season with an exclamation point. After dominating the Bengals backup tackles to the tune of three sacks in Week 16, he had what may have been his best performance all year. Against the Green Bay Packers, not only did he pick up another three sacks, but he added three more quarterback pressures and two more QB hits, finishing the week as a top-five edge defender per Pro Football Focus.
His impressive performance earned him some league-wide honors, as well. The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that Ansah was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the regular season finale:
Per Pro-Football-Reference, this is just the second time Ansah has ever won these honors. The last time Ziggy was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week was in 2014 after a 2.5-sack performance against the Vikings in which he also forced a fumble.
Ansah’s strong finish in 2017 leaves the Lions with a bit of a conundrum going into free agency. The former Pro Bowler is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but has struggled with injuries his entire career. Considering the Lions have such little talent at the edges, Detroit may be forced to overpay the risky defender—a franchise tag is expected to cost the team around $17.4 million. However, letting Ansah go could end up being more costly, considering he is easily the most talented defensive end the team currently has.