Ezekiel Ansah

Contract Details: Howard, Ansah, Calhoun

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

Seahawks’ Ziggy Ansah To Miss Games?

New Seahawks’ defensive end Ezekiel Ansah still is recovering from shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out of training camp or longer, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Furthermore, some league sources believe Ansah could miss the first month of this season, if not more. 

The Seahawks inked Ansah to a deal late Wednesday night, allowing them to skirt any possible compensatory pick formula ramifications. On the surface, it was a brilliant way to bolster an edge rush that can use a lift following the Frank Clark trade. However, the Ansah signing won’t do them a whole lot of good if he’s not on the field.

Health, of course, has been an issue for the former Lions standout. The soon-to-be 30-year-old has 48 career sacks to his credit, including 14.5 from his Pro Bowl campaign in 2015. He also notched 12 sacks in 2017, but the years sandwiched in between have been filled with injuries and disappointment. Last year, Ansah registered just four sacks in seven games after the Lions hit him with the pricey franchise tag.

The Bills were also in the mix for Ansah, but the Seahawks won out. With Seattle, Ansah will join first-round pick L.J. Collier in a new-look edge unit.

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Seahawks To Sign Ziggy Ansah

The Seahawks won out for Ziggy Ansah. The former Lions defensive end will head west on a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Ansah will sign his deal on Thursday, Rapoport tweets. This will take a key free agent off the board, a day after UFA signings became disconnected from 2020 compensatory picks.

It appeared the Seahawks and Bills were vying for Ansah, with Brandon Beane remarking hours ago his team was still negotiating with the former Pro Bowl pass rusher. But the Seahawks, who had a much bigger immediate need at defensive end, will make the addition. Ansah will join first-round pick L.J. Collier in a new-look Seattle edge corps.

The Seahawks’ Frank Clark trade left them vulnerable on the edge. They used the No. 29 overall pick on Collier, who maxed out at six sacks in his best TCU season, but now have a former top-five pick in the fold. Ansah has struggled with injuries, his most recent shoulder malady set to keep him out until perhaps midway through training camp, but has been productive when healthy. The soon-to-be 30-year-old edge presence has 48 career sacks, his 14.5 in 2015 sending him to the Pro Bowl and the 12 in 2017 inducing the Lions to place their franchise tag on him last year.

Free agent edges Nick Perry and Shane Ray also visited Seattle, but the team will go with Ansah. Perry and Ray join several starter- or sub-package-level pass rushers still available. Derrick Morgan, Michael Johnson, Andre Branch, Pernell McPhee, Dion Jordan and others remain on the market.

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Seahawks Ahead In Ziggy Ansah Pursuit

Ziggy Ansah has made several visits this offseason. The team that secured the most recent visit appears to be the leader to land him.

The Seahawks have emerged as the frontrunners to sign the former Lions sack artist, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Although, the Bills — who also hosted Ansah this offseason — remain interested, with no deal being finalized between the former top-five pick and the Seahawks.

Just shy of his 30th birthday, Ansah met with the Seahawks in late April. The team has an obvious need at defensive end, having traded Frank Clark to the Chiefs. While Seattle selected L.J. Collier with the pick acquired from the Chiefs, the team almost certainly needs veteran help here.

Ansah has also visited the Bills, Ravens and Saints. Buffalo is a bit deeper on the edge than Seattle, but with Shaq Lawson a perpetual trade candidate, the AFC Ansah suitor may possess a slightly bigger need than it would appear. Jerry Hughes is also entering a contract year and his age-31 season. Though, Trent Murphy profiles as a superior option to any of the Seahawks’ veterans at this point. Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard joined the Seahawks this offseason but profile more as potential depth pieces than starters.

The shoulder injury that dogged Ansah last season required offseason surgery and resulted in this lengthy free agency stay. Ansah’s plan was to wait until at least mid-April to sign. Now that the deadline for UFAs to count against the 2020 compensatory formula has elapsed, it’s understandable Ansah’s market has accelerated. While Ansah may not be cleared until midway through his next team’s training camp, it appears he will decide on a destination soon.

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AFC Notes: Raiders, Incognito, Ravens, Ansah

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Mutual interest exists between the Raiders and Richie Incognito, but the team is hesitant at the moment because of the suspension the embattled guard is likely to receive. The former Rams, Bills and Dolphins guard obviously has a checkered past, and the Raiders would like some clarity on the soon-to-be 36-year-old’s situation before moving forward, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Jon Gruden‘s failed gamble on Martavis Bryant last year factors into this caution, Tafur writes, though it does not sound like an Incognito ban would nix a potential deal.
  • The Raiders have added the following players to their wideout room: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow and Jalin Marshall. They also re-signed return specialist Dwayne Harris. But Gruden told UDFA Keelan Doss he has a “solid” chance of making the 53-man roster, Tafur writes (subscription required). An Alameda, Calif., native, Doss turned down better offers from other teams to play with his hometown squad, Tafur adds. Doss finished his UC Davis career with 312 catches and 4,069 yards — both school records.
  • Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is currently slotted in as the Ravens‘ third quarterback behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III, but the team may have bigger plans for the rookie. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the team is envisioning him playing a similar role to Taysom Hill on the Saints. McSorley is expected to take a few reps at quarterbacks, get a handful of carries, contribute on special teams, and perhaps make a few cameos at safety.
  • Zrebiec also believes the Ravens will make a push to sign defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah. The organization already met with the free agent several weeks ago, and it was rumored that the 29-year-old would wait to sign a contract until he wasn’t attached to a compensatory pick. Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year before his shoulder took him out of action. However, Ansah has shown serious potential in the past with two 12+ sack seasons. As recently as 2017, Ansah profiled as one of the best edge rushers in the game.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

Compensatory Pick Formula Ends Today

Starting at 4pm ET/3pm CT, any unrestricted free agent that signs with a new team will not count towards the 2020 compensatory draft pick formula, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This should quickly accelerate the market for several free agents of note, including:

Compensatory picks are given to teams that lose a greater number of compensatory free agents (or, a greater quality of free agents) than they acquire. The complicated formula that dictates how the picks are dispersed is not disclosed to the public, but teams are wary of signing even lower impact UFAs while it is in effect.

But, when the formula is turned off, veteran free agents should start flying off of the board.

Ziggy Ansah Visiting Seahawks

The latest Ziggy Ansah visit involves a team that suddenly has a need on the edge. Ansah is in Seattle on Monday meeting with the Seahawks, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Although the Seahawks selected TCU defensive end L.J. Collier in the first round, their draft-week trade of Frank Clark still leaves them a bit undermanned at their edge defender spot. None of the Seahawks’ other 10 draft choices addressed this spot, and John Schneider hinted Saturday the team was not done in its pursuit of defensive ends post-Clark.

Ansah already visited the Bills, Saints and Ravens this offseason. A decision may be imminent for the injury-prone pass rusher. However, any team that signs the former top-five pick will do so with the understanding he is not expected to be cleared until after training camps begin. Ansah underwent surgery after another injury-limited season, and although his shoulder is structurally sound, mid-August is the clearance target date.

The Seahawks signed Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard this offseason but have a need up front. Collier should be expected to play a key role this season, but the team traded its top edge rusher and the only edge player to record more than three sacks for last year’s squad. Rasheem Green, a 2018 third-round pick, and Quinton Jefferson, a three-sack player last year, remain in the group as well. But it’s clear the Seahawks are interested in augmenting the group after Clark’s departure.

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Ziggy Ansah Visiting Ravens

Ezekiel Ansah could be getting closer to finding his new NFL home for the 2019 season. The Ravens will meet with the free agent defensive end on Wednesday, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

Ansah, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2013 draft, enjoyed some serious highs and lows with the Lions. Over the course of six seasons, Ansah compiled 48 sacks. However, that stat doesn’t tell the whole story.

Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year before his shoulder took him out of action. However, Ansah has shown serious potential in the past with two 12+ sack seasons. As recently as 2017, Ansah profiled as one of the best edge rushers in the game.

Thanks to the shoulder, Ansah’s plan all along has been to wait until April to sign with a club. He recently had a follow-up appointment to assess his readiness for the upcoming season and now that four months have passed since his operation, he’s apparently on track to play.

Indeed, Ansah saw specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday, and Dr. ElAttrache provided a positive prognosis, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Ansah’s shoulder is structurally sound, and he should be cleared by the middle of August. The key will be getting strength back in the shoulder, and there doesn’t appear to be any reason to think that he won’t be able to do so.

For the Ravens, Ansah could bolster an edge rushing unit that is now without Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith.

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Ezekiel Ansah Won’t Sign Until April

Ezekiel Ansah stands as one of the best pass-rushers remaining on the open market, though many expected him to be off the board by this point in the offseason. As it turns out, teams want to learn more about his surgically repaired shoulder, according to his agent (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). 

The plan, for now, is to wait until Ansah’s follow-up appointment in mid-April to determine his readiness for the upcoming season. That appointment will (roughly) mark the four-month anniversary of his operation, which should give a clearer picture of where Ansah stands in his recovery.

Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year before his shoulder took him out of action. However, Ansah has shown serious potential in the past with two 12+ sack seasons. As recently as 2017, Ansah profiled as one of the best edge rushers in the game.

The Bills and Saints have both shown interest in Ansah and the Jets could be a potential suitor for him.

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Bills Remain Interested In Ziggy Ansah

The Bills have three defensive ends set to return from last year’s team, but there’s still room for more help on the edge. The Bills recently met with Ezekiel Ansah and GM Brandon Beane says they’re still interested. 

We had a great visit with Ziggy and he’s a great young man,” Beane said on WGR 550 (via Matt Parrino of New York Upstate). “He had a tough shoulder injury last year and he’s still rehabbing that. I know he went on a couple other visits, or at least one other that I’m aware of. We had great talks with him and his agent. It’s kind of just at a standstill right now but it doesn’t mean it will or it won’t happen. We’ll see going forward and we’ll stay in touch with him and his representatives.”

Whether Ansah signs with the Bills or not, Beane seems to be leaning toward adding more talent on the d-line either in free agency or the NFL Draft next month.

Ansah has talent and question marks in equal measure. After shoulder surgery, Ansah appeared in just seven games for the Lions last year. However, he has two 12+ sack seasons to his credit, with the most recent one coming in 2017.

The Bills’ interest makes sense, though it’ll likely come down to cost. More specifically, the Bills would probably aim for a deal that has a modest base salary, affording them some protection in the event of another injury.

Regardless of what happens with Ansah, it sounds like the Bills are keen on adding edge rushers in April’s draft.

There’s a couple guys out there (on the free agent market) but we’re mainly in a holding pattern there,” Beane said. “I don’t know that there’s a guy out there that we would probably jump on before the draft. But depending on what we land in the draft maybe there’s some guys that we pursue after that separate of Ziggy, whether we go after him or not.”

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