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Lions using franchise tag on Ziggy Ansah

February 28, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) blocks Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) during an NFL football game in Detroit. The Lions have designated Ansah as their franchise player. The Lions announced the decision Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Ansah, a first-round draft pick in 2013, has 44 sacks in five years with Detroit, including 12 this past season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have designated defensive end Ziggy Ansah as their franchise player.

The Lions announced the decision Tuesday. Ansah, a first-round draft pick in 2013, has 44 sacks in five years with Detroit, including 12 this past season.

Ansah hasn’t played a full 16 games since the 2015 season, but while his health has been an issue, he can still be an elite pass rusher. He had three sacks in a game three times last season, against the Giants, Bengals and Packers.

The franchise tag buys the Lions and Ansah until mid-July to reach agreement on a long-term contract. Otherwise, he’ll play on a one-year deal and make the average of the top five players at his position in 2018.

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