One of the first moves that the Detroit Lions conducted this NFL offseason was the decision to designate star defensive end Ziggy Ansah under the franchise tag for the 2018 campaign. It has kept in place one of their cornerstones on the defensive side of the ball for at least through next year.

Ansah has carved out a significant role during his tenure with the team has placed a high amount of importance toward retaining his services. According to Michael Rothstein of ESPN, general manager Bob Quinn stated on Monday that keeping the 28-year-old was the top priority this offseason.

Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn said at the team’s season ticket holder member summit Monday night that making sure the team retained Ezekiel Ansah was the team’s “number one conversation” this offseason. That was something he explained to new coach Matt Patricia soon after hiring him. Quinn said he knows Patricia’s defense and how he would like to have the caliber of edge rusher Ansah can be when he’s healthy. Pretty soon after he was hired, they came to an agreement of what they wanted to do with Ansah. The team ended up franchise-tagging Ansah — becoming the team’s biggest move in free agency.

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The Lions have made it clear with this move that they plan to have Ansah as a significant part of the defensive game plan under new head coach Matt Patricia. He is coming off another productive campaign where he finished tied for eighth in the league with 12.0 sacks with 44 total tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in 14 games. This included three separate games with three sacks pushing his career total to four such performance tying him with Robert Porcher for the most in franchise history.

Although extension doesn’t seem likely at this point, Ansah’s presence for the 2018 season should give me a highly dependable asset along the defensive line. When healthy, he has proven to be one of the top pass rushers in the league with 44.0 sacks through his first five seasons.

Depending on his things shake out in the 2018 campaign, Ansah could become a long-term part of the franchise’s future with a new contract in place likely next season. Until then, the Lions have much faith that he can be a rock-solid source of production and dependency next season.