The details of Ziggy Ansah’s contract, agreed to with the Seahawks on Wednesday, have become clearer. His signing is expected to become official Friday.
Here are those numbers as well as two other day-after thoughts on the move to add a pass rusher to help replace the production lost by trading Frank Clark.
Timing saved a fourth-round pick
Ansah’s market took a while to develop because of concerns about his health and specifically a shoulder that required labrum surgery late last year (more on this in a minute).
But another reason the Seahawks didn’t sign Ansah until May 8 — two months after the free-agent signing period began — is because the Seahawks didn’t want it to impact their expected allotment of four compensatory picks in the 2020 draft. Those picks are awarded via a formula as compensation for free agents lost.
Turns out, the cost of signing Ansah earlier would have been a fourth-round pick, according to Nick Korte of OvertheCap.com.
Korte said if that the signing had happened before the May 7 comp-pick deadline it “would have canceled out their fourth round 2020 compensatory pick for Justin Coleman.’’
Coleman, interestingly, signed with the Lions, Ansah’s team the past six seasons.
The Seahawks project to have comp picks in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds in 2020, giving them 10 total. The Seahawks traded two of their 2020 picks already — a sixth-rounder on draft day for a pick to get John Ursua and a seventh-rounder few days later to get tight end Jacob Hollister. Those deals were made on the assumption of having a full allotment of comp picks in 2020.
Will Ansah’s health be an issue?
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Ansah will sign a one-year deal with a base value of $9 million (which is also likely the salary cap number) with incentives that could take it up to $13 million.
As the numbers from Rapoport and others detail, much of Ansah’s contract is tied up in incentives based on his ability to play. Much of the incentive money is in roster bonuses, likely for being on the active roster at various times in the season and in per-game bonuses for being on the roster each week of the regular season.
Those are in place in case Ansah can’t make it back for the start of the season because of labrum surgery that landed him on injured reserve on Dec. 11.
A report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday stated that “some league sources believe Ansah could miss the first month of this season, at least.’’
Rapoport stated on NFL Network on Thursday that the Seahawks are convinced Ansah will be ready for the start of the regular season. It is expected he will likely begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list (going on the PUP list allows for some roster flexibility if a player’s injury takes longer to recover from than expected). A player can come off the PUP list at any time during the preseason. But if he is still on the PUP list when the regular season begins he must miss at least the first six games.
Ansah has been bothered not only by a shoulder in recent seasons, but he also had knee surgery following the 2017 season and battled a back issue in 2017 as well as a high ankle sprain in 2016.
The injuries are why the Seahawks are committing to just a one-year deal for Ansah, who will turn 30 this month.
A one-year contract means Ansah will be an unrestricted free agent next spring unless the Seahawks re-sign him. If he leaves, the Seahawks could end up getting a comp pick for Ansah in 2021 — depending on when he would sign with another team.
Seahawks sure love the 2013 draft
Ansah’s signing also means the Seahawks have had on their roster, at some point over the past three years, six players who were among the top 13 taken in the 2013 NFL draft.
Those six are: OL Luke Joeckel (second overall), DE Dion Jordan (third), Ansah (fifth), LB Barkevkous Mingo (sixth), OL D.J. Fluker (11th) and DL Sheldon Richardson (13th).
There’s some irony there in that the Seahawks famously felt that draft wasn’t overly strong, one reason they decided to trade their first-round pick to the Vikings in the deal that brought back Percy Harvin. Their first pick in that draft was 62nd overall, which it used on running back Christine Michael — one pick after the Packers took Eddie Lacy, who also ended up on the Seahawks’ roster a few years later.
As one reader noted, the Seahawks have had 22 players from the 2013 draft on its roster at some point, a number that includes corner back Jamar Taylor, who agreed to a deal Thursday and was the 54th overall pick in that draft.
None of those 11 players the Seahawks selected remains on their roster. The last to leave was tight end Luke Willson, who departed via free agency a year ago.
But with Ansah, Taylor, Mingo and Fluker, the Seahawks will enter the 2019 season with four of the top 54 players in that draft on their roster.
That draft has been regarded as one of the worst in NFL history due in part to the washouts of players at the top such as Joeckel — who did not play last season and is not on a roster — and Jordan, who has started just four games and is also not on a roster as the Seahawks have so far decided not to bring him back.
It’s worth remembering that the Seahawks have gotten almost all of those players listed above relatively inexpensively, with many of them available because the teams that drafted them were willing to let them go. Joeckel, Jordan, Ansah and Fluker all signed one-year contracts with Seattle while Mingo signed a two-year deal. Richardson was acquired in a trade with the Jets before the 2017 season for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick.