Ezekiel Ansah

Seahawks Expect Ziggy Ansah For Week 1

The Seahawks’ defensive line has taken some hits this offseason. After the Frank Clark trade, Jarran Reed encountered a six-game suspension and first-round pick L.J. Collier suffered an ankle sprain that’s expected to sideline him a while.

Ziggy Ansah, however, tentatively stands to provide much-needed assistance. The seventh-year defensive end avoided the PUP list and has a good chance of being in Seattle’s starting lineup by Week 1, per Pete Carroll.

I’m counting on it that he’s going to make it,” the 10th-year Seahawks coach said during an interview with KJR Radio (via Pro Football Talk) of Ansah returning in time for the regular season. “I don’t see any reason that he wouldn’t. He’s doing great, has made progress throughout. I’m not really concerned about the preseason games for him. I just want to get him to game time if we can.”

Carroll hopes Ansah will be able to practice fully in the coming weeks. The longtime Lions defensive end has spent the past several months recovering from shoulder surgery. Should Ansah return in time for the Seahawks’ opener against the Bengals, he will be by far the most accomplished defensive lineman in the team’s lineup.

Ansah, 30, signed with the Seahawks shortly after the draft. Injuries, however, have limited the former top-five pick for much of his career. Most recently, he missed nine games for the 2018 Lions. He registered 12 sacks in 2017, prompting the Lions to use their 2018 franchise tag on him. Ansah has two seasons of at least 12 QB drops, having recorded 14.5 in a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ziggy Ansah Avoids PUP List

Although Seahawks fans are surely frustrated by the surprising and controversial six-game suspension for DT Jarran Reed, they will be happy to hear that new defensive end Ezekiel Ansah will avoid the PUP list and will open training camp on the active roster. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network passes along the good news (via Twitter), though he cautions that Ansah will be limited early as he continues to rebuild strength in his shoulder.

But as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes, the fact that Ansah will not start training camp on the PUP list indicates that his recovery has gone at least as well as expected thus far. Although reports from May indicated that Ansah could miss games, today’s news suggests he could be ready for Week 1.

Health, of course, has been an issue for the former Lions standout. The 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 four sacks in seven games after the Lions hit him with the pricey franchise tag.

In case you missed it, the Seahawks bolstered their D-line by signing Earl Mitchell earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, N. Bosa, Wagner, Benson

The 49ers have not had a high draft pick hold out of training camp since the new CBA and its rookie wage scale were instituted in 2011. However, the club’s top two 2019 draft choices, No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa and No. 36 overall pick Deebo Samuel, have yet to sign their rookie deals. Cam Inman of the Mercury News believes that both players will be under contract by the time camp opens on Friday, but it seems that the club’s history, rather than any specific information on Bosa or Samuel, is the primary reason for that belief.

Now for more from the league’s west divisions:

  • In the same piece linked above, Inman says that new 49ers acquisitions Kwon Alexander and Jason Verrett — along with every other member of the roster — should be cleared for action when camp opens, though San Francisco may ease them back into action. Inman also suggests that the backup QB competition between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard will be a close one.
  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise given earlier reports that new Seahawks defensive end Ezekiel Ansah could miss at least the first month of the regular season, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that Ansah is expected to open training camp on the PUP list. It remains to be seen if Ansah will, in fact, miss any regular season action, though Condotta says there should be more clarity on that front this week.
  • Condotta also believes that Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner will get an extension before the season begins, and it could happen as soon as this week.
  • We have taken several looks at the Broncos‘ WR corps over the past week or so, and UDFA Trinity Benson‘s name keeps cropping up. As Mike Klis of 9News.com writes, Benson took reps with the first-team offense Saturday and caught several passes from Joe Flacco. New head coach Vic Fangio said he will continue to put his unproven players on the field with the presumptive starters, and it seems that Benson has acquitted himself nicely thus far. The fact that he served as a kickoff and punt returner in college will only help his cause.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.