Lions pick up 2017 option on Ezekiel Ansah for $12.7 million

The Detroit Lions finally did what everyone expected them to do for months Monday -- pick up the fifth year option on the contract of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.

The move means Ansah will make around $12.7 million in the 2017 season based on the average of the top 10 defensive ends in the league, a good value for a player who is turning into one of the best young defensive ends in the NFL.

The Lions drafted Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 draft as a fairly raw prospect out of BYU. Ansah had barely played organized football at that point, picking up the sport midway through his college career after first running track and unsuccessfully trying out for the Cougars' basketball team.

Moving toward football, a game not common in his native Ghana, turned out to be a fortuitous move. He quickly used his raw talent to become an intriguing prospect in the draft and has improved each season with the Lions under defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

After good seasons as a rookie in 2013 and in his second year in 2014, the 26-year-old Ansah had a breakout 2015. He made his first Pro Bowl after tallying 47 tackles and 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last season. He finished third in the NFL in sacks last season and tied for second in forced fumbles.

He also established himself as Detroit’s best defensive player, and with the retirement of Calvin Johnson he is likely the Lions’ best overall player.

Ansah has played in 46 games over his first three seasons in the NFL and made 128 tackles with 30 sacks, nine forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.