In a move that was expected, the Detroit Lions announced Tuesday that they have designated defensive end Ziggy Ansah as their franchise player.
Ansah finished 2017 with a dozen sacks 44 total tackles (39 solo), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Six of those sacks occurred in the final two games. It was an improvement from the 2016 season when he had two sacks but not quite enough to match his best year when he had 14.5 sacks in 2015.
His 44 career sacks rank fifth all-time in Lions history.
Ansah, 28, was the Lions first-round draft pick (fifth overall) in 2013. It was seen as a risky pick. Ansah’s size and athleticism fit a first-round profile, but he didn’t play football until in college at Brigham Young. He was raw but proved to be a quick learner.
He will be paid $17.5 million for 2018 once he signs his tender, according to Ian Rapoport, NFL Network Insider. Ansah’s agent and the Lions have until July 16 to work out a longer deal.
Ansah’s career totals also include 73 games (71 starts), 207 total tackles (155 solo), 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.