The Detroit Lions will have their first offseason workout on Monday, but they’ll be without their second-most expensive player. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is not expected to be in attendance.
Ansah was given the franchise tag at the end of February, worth $17.1 million. He has yet to sign the tender offer, meaning he’s technically not under contract. However, the workouts are voluntary anyways, so he wouldn’t have to attend even if he had signed the franchise tag.
One reason Ansah may not have signed the franchise tag deal is because he wants to work out a long-term deal. The two sides have until July 16 to come to a long-term agreement, and Ansah would lose any leverage by signing the tag before then. However, there have been no indications thus far that the Lions are interested in signing Ansah long term. Given Ansah’s injury history and the team’s limited cap room, there is little incentive for Detroit to sign the defensive end to a multi-year deal.
So for now, the two sides will remain far apart. Considering the first phase of offseason workouts are limited to strength, conditioning and rehab program, Ansah won’t be missing anything he can’t be doing on his own. Still, it’s always beneficial to work alongside your teammates, especially with a new head coach at the helm.
In addition to Ansah, Lions receiver TJ Jones has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender. Jones is also recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. It’s unknown whether he’ll report to Monday’s workout.
UPDATE: Justin Rogers of The Detroit News believes Ansah will report “shortly” but isn’t expected Monday:
I've been told Ziggy Ansah won't be with Lions tomorrow when team reports for workouts. He's still in Ghana for a family obligation. He's kept team leadership, including Patricia, in the loop. Expectation is Ansah will be back working with team shortly.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) April 8, 2018