As free agency opened, the Buffalo Bills made multiple moves, inking ten players to contracts in the first week of the new league year. The team also met with veteran pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah, formerly of the Detroit Lions, to gauge his interest in signing with the team.
Ansah, who turns 30 in May, has 48 sacks in his six-year NFL career; however, he missed all but seven of Detroit’s games last season due to a shoulder injury. That shoulder injury, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, is the main reason why Ansah remains unsigned. Rapoport tweeted that Ansah’s agent has been told by numerous clubs that they want to see the results of Ansah’s mid-April checkup on his surgically-repaired shoulder. With the initial free-agent surge already completed, teams (and Ansah) are in no rush to sign a contract quickly.
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane echoed these thoughts last week:
“We had a great visit with Ziggy and he’s a great young man,” Beane said Thursday morning on WGR 550 radio. “He had a tough shoulder injury last year and he’s still rehabbing that. I know he went on a couple other visits, or at least one other that I’m aware of. We had great talks with him and his agent. It’s kind of just at a standstill right now but it doesn’t mean it will or it won’t happen. We’ll see going forward and we’ll stay in touch with him and his representatives.”
Ansah had 12 sacks in his last full season, which was the 2017 campaign. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 when he notched a career-high 14.5 sacks for the Lions. That season, he managed 34 quarterback hits, also a career high. In limited action last year, Ansah totaled four sacks and 11 tackles while playing 146 defensive snaps (14.6% of Detroit’s team total).
Ansah would fit right in along Buffalo’s defensive line, which already has a starting trio of Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, and Shaq Lawson along the defensive edge. Hughes, 30, is in the final year of his contract, while Lawson, 24, enters the fourth year of his rookie deal. The team has until May 3 to decide whether to exercise their fifth-year option on that contract. Murphy, 28, enters the second year of a three-year contract signed during the 2018 free-agency period.