Change of Scenery
Detroit to Seattle
It’s that time of year where we see old faces find homes in new places. Sometimes a change of scenery can be bad, but it also can be good. In a lot of cases a players inability to stay healthy, eventually causes a team to say enough, and move on from the player. This is the case we’re about to discuss, with this next player, but sometimes when a player goes to another team their luck can change. Let’s take a look at the next player in the “Change of Scenery” series, Ezekiel Ansah.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Ansah was drafted by the Detroit Lions, with the 5th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, from BYU. He wasn’t even on the radar of many scouts or any mock drafts, but quickly changed that after an impressive showing at the 2013 Senior Bowl, where he recorded seven tackles (six solos), 1.5 sacks (for 13 yards), 3.5 tackles for loss (for 24 yards), a pass breakup, and a forced fumble, and earning high grades at the NFL Combine soon after.
The Lions had great interest in him and took him the top five of the draft. On May 10, 2013, the Detroit Lions signed him to a fully guaranteed four-year, $18.59 million contract with a signing bonus of $11.90 million. That was big money during that time, especially for a player considered to be a raw prospect. He would get off to a good start to his Lion’s career. During his first three seasons, he would play in forty-six of the possible forty-eight games, only missing two games in his rookie year, with a minor ankle sprain. Should that have been a red flag or precursor of what was to come in the future? We’ll get there in just a few minutes.
In those first three seasons as a pro, he would record one hundred thirty-eight tackles, thirty-five for a loss and thirty sacks, in those forty-six games. In his third season, which is his peak to this point of his career, he recorded forty-seven tackles, fifteen for a loss and fourteen and a half sacks. As you can see, in his prime, he was a force to be reckoned with. After such an impressive season, the Lions front office would reward Ansah, on May 2, 2016, by exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract that would pay him $7.53 million for 2017. Would this be a decision they would ultimately regret or would they be rewarded as well?
Provided by Pro Football Reference
Over the next three seasons of his career, he would miss fourteen of the possible forty-eight games, with various injuries. In his fourth year, he would miss three full games and most of another with another ankle injuries he suffered versus the Titans. It wasn’t only the injury but also the steep drop off in production from the year before that was concerning. He would only have two sacks in thirteen games after coming off a fourteen sack season a year earlier. In 2017, he would reclaim some of his value, by recording twelve sacks in fourteen games. Yet again he would miss a couple of games with an injury.
Now that he had played his rookie contract out and not unable to come to a long term agreement, the Lions placed the franchise tag on Ansah that would pay him $17.5 million in 2018. He then had his worst season to date, playing in only seven games due to a shoulder injury. He recorded only four sacks last season and with the routine injury history, it became clear that the Lions would be best suited to cut ties with Ansah. They would do just that and let him walk away in free agency if he could find a suitor for his services.
Ansah would have to be patient, as he would have to wait for the free agent frenzy to pass and the NFL Draft, before he would garner any interest if at all. However, when one domino falls, there is a ripple effect for everyone else. Fortunately for Ansah, that domino was the Seattle Seahawks trading star pass rusher Frank Clark, whom the two sides were having their own contract battle. Seattle would not cave to Clark’s demands and decided to trade him away and get what they could in return. With Clark out of the picture, there was a void to fill at defensive end. They have Rasheem Green, whom they drafted last season, as well as rookie LJ Collier whom they drafted in this year’s draft.
But they needed that veteran presence and Ansah could provide that at a cheap price. They signed Ansah to a one year $9 million deal, with possible incentives, that could push it to $12.75 million. A nice cheap insurance policy for this season and a chance for Ezekiel to try and rebuild his career and value. When healthy he has the potential to provide them with the type of production they lost in Clark, along with veteran leadership.
Sure he’s basically a one-year rental, but he can’t get lost on the bigger picture and the Seahawks are betting on him to stay focused. Why do you ask? Well if he can stay healthy and eye on his future, then he should put up really good numbers, which helps both him and the team. As I said it helps Ezekiel rebuild his career and on his next contract with whoever signs him. For Seattle, That same focus helps the team by giving them a veteran that can provide production, until they can get their young guys ready. It’s a win-win!
What does this mean for us fantasy owners? This makes Ansah a terrific buy-low option or worth a flyer if he’s a free agent in your league. At age 29, he can still have some productive years ahead. If he can stay healthy, he can be a double digit sack guy still. I know that’s a big if, but at his current value you’re getting a steal if he does. If not then it’s easy for you to cut ties as you have little invested. I have him graded as a DE3 right now and potential to have a much better impact in fantasy. Of course the deeper your league’s rosters are, the number of teams in your league the better his value will be. Sometimes in fantasy, you just have to take a chance, and maybe Ansah can make you look like a genius. Good luck fellow IDPers!!!
Thanks for reading my article and if enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles at dynastyfootballfactory.com. You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at Hollywood@DFF_DWin, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub I’m user KingTitan1 and you can tune in each week and listen to the IDP EdgeCrushers podcast that I co-host, on a number of different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation