The Detroit Lions announced Monday they exercised the fifth-year option on Ziggy Ansah’s deal, keeping the defensive end on the roster through the 2017 season.
According to Over The Cap, Ansah’s salary will climb from a little over $2.9 million in 2016 to $12.7 million in the final year of his contract with the Lions picking up his option.
In 16 games for the Lions in 2015, the 26-year-old recorded 47 combined tackles and 14.5 sacks. The three-year veteran also made his first Pro Bowl. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 27th-best edge-defender overall (82.1), and he tied for 22nd in pass rushing (81.9).
He’s set to be the third-highest-paid 4-3 defensive end in 2017, perOver The Cap, but MLive’s Justin Rogers argued Ansah’s best move would be agreeing to a new deal before then:
Given Ansah’s age, if I’m his agent, I’m pushing for a long-term, market-value deal before playing under 5th-year option.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) May 2, 2016
From the Lions’ perspective, locking up Ansah through at least the next two years was an easy decision. Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper wrote that Ansah is essentially under team control through 2018, since Detroit could use the franchise tag on him once his rookie deal ends.
Paying him $12.7 million in 2017 would be more than reasonable considering player contracts are continuing to rise, and he would almost certainly earn more on the open market. This offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Malik Jackson for six years and $85.5 million, per the Houston Chronicle‘s Aaron Wilson, while the New York Giants gave Olivier Vernon $85 million over five years, per Wilson.
Exercising the option also buys the Lions more time to negotiate a long-term deal with Ansah, which arguably suits the interests of both parties.