Lions have until Monday to pull trigger on Ansah's option
Allen Park — By Monday, the Lions have to decide whether or not they want to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive end Ziggy Ansah’s contract.
The Detroit News reported back in March that the Lions planned to utilize the option, which will cost close to $13 million for 2017. Obviously, in a free-agent market where pass rushers are paid like quarterbacks, that’s a relative bargain for a player like Ansah, who had 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last year.
But, even with the option deadline approaching, general manager Bob Quinn wouldn’t tip his hand with regards to the Lions’ plans on Saturday after the draft ended.
“I’ll have an update on that for you in a few days,” he said.
Under the collective bargaining agreement from 2011, draft picks start with a four-year contract, but first-round picks have an optional fifth year that is only guaranteed if the player is seriously injured the previous season.
The Lions’ intend to pick up the option, and the hope will be that they can re-sign Ansah to an extension before 2018 when he’d be eligible for the franchise tag.
Like the Ansah situation, Quinn declined to provide an update on the mysterious situation with linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
The 31-year-old linebacker offered a farewell to Detroit fans in February, and at the time, the plan was for the Lions to cut him after the start of the league year but before his $500,000 roster bonus was due on March 13.
It’s unclear why the Lions paid that bonus, but they still have no plans of keeping Tulloch when cutting him would save $5.5 million on the salary cap for 2016. Yes, the Lions don’t need the cap space, but whatever they don’t spend this year can roll over to 2017.
For the first time since 2006, the Lions didn’t make a draft-day trade as Quinn chose to select all 10 of the picks the team started with on Thursday.
“That’s a hard thing to juggle because the phone rings all the time and you have to evaluate what you have on the board,” Quinn said. “So, you’re looking at your players and guys that you like and then you have a call and you’re like, ‘Well, if I trade back, I got three guys I like here in this cluster. If I trade back and lose all three of them, then that’s not really a good trade for me.’
“So, we had a lot of conversations, both, ‘Do you want to come up? Do you want to come down?’ I was on the phone a lot with a lot of different teams and in the end just none of them made sense this year. Sometimes they all make sense and you make a lot of them and this year, for me, it just didn’t work out.”
Quinn said he’s still evaluating some members of the personnel department. Teams typically make scouting changes in May after the draft, and the Lions will make some adjustments.