If there was any concern about Ezekiel Ansah holding out this offseason in the hopes to sign a long-term deal with the Detroit Lions, it was put to rest on Monday morning. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the star defensive end is leaving his home country of Ghana on Monday to sign his franchise tag with the team and report to offseason workouts.
Rapoport’s story seems to be backed up by an Instagram video from Ansah where it appears he’s flying out of (presumably) Ghana:
Ansah missed the first week of offseason workouts due to a “family obligation” per The Detroit News.
The Lions and Ansah have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal, but if Ansah is indeed intending on signing the franchise tag, that likely means there will be no extension this offseason.
For the Lions, that makes a lot of sense. Though an extension could lighten up Ansah’s huge $17.1 cap hit on the franchise tag, Ansah’s limited availability due to injury has made it hard for the Lions to commit long-term to the former Pro Bowler.
So this makes the 2018 season one of the most important in Ansah’s short career. Ansah will be 29 before the season begins, and his next contract could theoretically be his last. With a huge 2018 season, Ansah will be due for a huge payday going forward, but another injury-plagued season could end any chances of a long-term deal in the future.
Coming off minor knee surgery this offseason, it’s unclear how involved Ansah will be in offseason workouts. Still, it’s good to see he’ll be with the team again shortly.