Clayton: Ziggy Ansah drawing interest from multiple teams, but Seahawks would be best fit
Ziggy Ansah came to Seattle early this week for a visit. And for a Seahawks team not sure who are the starting defensive ends, he has the perfect résumé to help.
He has 48 career sacks. He’s been to the Pro Bowl. He’s a former first-round pick. Like Cliff Avril, Ansah was a franchise player for the Detroit Lions.
Injuries have slowed him down the past two years, forcing him to miss 11 games. His most recent problem is a really bad shoulder injury from last year. According to sources, the shoulder is structurally sound, but he has to build back his strength.
That will take time. It’s possible he might not be able to practice until mid August. With only a couple of weeks to get into football shape, he might not be able to play in the first game or two. Still, he’s an interesting gamble that the Seahawks might try. If they sign Ansah after May 7, when unrestricted free agents become street free agents and don’t cost teams compensatory picks, the Seahawks would have three big injury concerns, in addition to wide receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Will Dissly.
Current Seahawks injuries
Baldwin might have to retire an offseason when he had three surgeries. The Seahawks covered for his possible absence by drafting three receivers: D.K. Metcalf, Gary Jennings and John Ursua. Two of those players, Jennings and Ursua, could be options in the slot, where Baldwin dominated for so many years.
Meanwhile, Dissly is coming back from a torn patellar tendon operation. Even though he’s expected to be back for the start of the regular season, the Seahawks traded for a blocking tight end, Jacob Hollister, from the New England Patriots (in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick). That gives them five tight ends on the roster.
Adding more than just Ansah
Even though the Seahawks have a lot of defensive linemen, it’s not out of the question for them to add two defensive ends. If they can get Ansah at the right price, they could still add a veteran like Nick Perry or Connor Barwin. Were he healthy, Ansah would have been an $11-plus million player signed in the first day of free agency. But the shoulder problem caused him to step away from the market, and as time went on, teams that might’ve needed defensive end helped shied away because they didn’t want to lose compensatory picks.
It wouldn’t be out of the question for the Seahawks to try to sign Ansah, Perry or Barwin, or a different pass-rusher, and get a run-stopping defensive tackle. Danny Shelton and Earl Mitchell could be options there. Another one could be a former Seahawk Al Woods, a 330-pound defensive tackle who was with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.
Ansah drawing interest from other teams
Notably, other teams are interested in Ansah. The Baltimore Ravens had him in for a visit last week and the Buffalo Bills have been reaching out to him. The New Orleans Saints showed interest, while the Philadelphia Eagles also might want to make a move. It’s no wonder there; his former head coach, Jim Schwartz, is the Eagles defensive coordinator.
But the Seahawks situation might be the best fit for him — and he could end up a No. 1 defensive end. This defense is geared to a player getting sacks. Sure, it might only be a one-year deal, but if Ansah does well, his departure for more than $10 million a year could bring a third-round compensatory for him.