Lions seek to begin working on contract extension with Ziggy Ansah

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions
Nov 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) rushes against Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Kelvin Beachum (68) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Lions won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have brought in a lot of new blood this offseason that has the fan base excited for what is ahead. One of the virtual guarantees moving forward is the team will sign quarterback Matthew Stafford to a contract extension, but he’s not the only familiar face the Lions are looking to hold on to.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions have expressed interest in extension talks with defensive end Ziggy Ansah, though negotiations have yet to begin.

Ansah turns 28 in May, and is entering the final season of his rookie contract. He’s due to make a guaranteed $12.734 million this fall, and the Lions would like to have a new deal in place to avoid hitting Ansah with the franchise tag which would play him just around $17 million, and having to go through the whole negotiation process again after the season.

After a stellar 2015 that saw Ansah top three in the league in sacks, his production dipped last year, in part due to a nagging high ankle sprain that he couldn’t quite shake. Despite the disappointing season, Ansah is still expected to receive top dollar for his services whenever he signs his second contract. That type of freakish speed, power, and size is something teams around the league covet coming off the edge , and Ansah has all three in spades.

Do not expect the Lions to finish inking anybody to new deals until after the NFL Draft. Lions General Manager Bob Quinn has been on the record as stating that these types of deals “don’t usually happen in April or May”, and the three players the Lions extended last year (Darius Slay, Sam Martin, and Theo Riddick), all got their deals done in July or September.

The Lions are at such a premium to sign Ansah because of how thin they are at the position. Ansah is by far the best pass rusher, and it is a position the Lions are expected to attack in April’s upcoming Draft.