The first of many important dates of the 2018 offseason is here. Starting Tuesday, all 32 NFL teams may make use of their franchise or transition tags. Teams have until March 6 (at 4 p.m. ET) to designate the tag, if desired.
The Detroit Lions haven’t used the franchise tag since 2012, when they held onto Cliff Avril for one more year before letting him hit free agency. However, this year, they’re one of the prime candidates in the league to use it. Ezekiel Ansah is set to become a free agent in a few weeks, and considering his lengthy injury history, it would be hard for the Lions to commit to him long term.
That makes the franchise tag ideal for Detroit, but there’s one big problem: Money. The franchise tag tender for a defensive end is estimated to be around $17.5 million, which is more than any defensive end is currently making on an average per-year salary basis. The Lions do have plenty of cap space to make it work, but obviously $17.5 million cuts deep into their ~$44 million to work with.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Will the Detroit Lions use the franchise tag on Ezekiel Ansah this year?
My answer: I think they will, but I’m not as confident about it as others seem to be. I have an article running later on Tuesday that will explain why I’m not so certain the Lions will be wildly spending on edge rushers this offseason, and Ansah is part of the formula there.
Still, I think it makes the most sense. Remember, just because a player is given the franchise tag doesn’t mean the player will play for a one year, $17.5 million contract. This would give the Lions time to negotiate a longer deal, if both sides are interested. This way, even if they don’t come to a long-term agreement, they can get a baseline for what Ansah truly wants, should Detroit decide to enter negotiations again after the 2018 season.
Letting Ansah go would complicate a problem the Lions already have and force them into a tough scenario where they’d likely have to somehow come out of the offseason with two brand-new starting edge rushers. That’s a position that is hard to find in free agency, and there are no guarantees in the draft.
Detroit’s flexibility in defensive scheme will give them more opportunities to find the right guys, but losing Ansah is just too tough for them right now. They can afford a $17.5 million cap hit, even if it’s more than Ansah is worth for a season.
Will the Lions use the franchise tag on Ezekiel Ansah?
This poll is closed