SALT LAKE CITY — Former BYU pass rusher Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah has been searching for an NFL team to play for since becoming a free agent this past offseason.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ansah’s found his new team, and he’ll team up with another former Cougars star — linebacker Fred Warner — in San Francisco. Fowler reported Monday morning that the 49ers and Ansah are finalizing a one-year deal — expected to become official this week after Ansah passes COVID-19 protocols — to bring the eight-year veteran to the Bay Area.
The 49ers are finalizing a one-year deal with veteran DE Ziggy Ansah, per source. Expected to be done this week after Covid protocols. @RapSheet 1st reported Ansah was flying to meet with team for expected signing.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 21, 2020
Ansah played last season for the Seattle Seahawks after six years in Detroit, signing a one-year contract with Seattle worth $9 million, including $6 million in guarantees, per Spotrac. With the Seahawks, he had 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a reserve.
Injuries, like they’ve done through significant parts of his career, cost Ansah missed time in 2019, as he played in 11 of the team’s 16 regular-season games and missed their divisional-round playoff game.
Defending NFC champion San Francisco is looking for help at defensive end, after Nick Bosa — last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year — left the 49ers’ 31-13 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday with an injury. After the game, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told the media Bosa “most likely” tore the ACL in his left knee.
49ers DE Nick Bosa was carted off the field today with what appears to be a knee injury. pic.twitter.com/UD0evO3PBX— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 20, 2020
This is the third time Ansah has met with San Francisco, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, as the sides couldn’t come to an agreement earlier.
Third time the charm: The #49ers are flying FA pass-rusher Ziggy Ansah to the East Coast to meet them with the expectation that he signs after going through COVID testing. He’s visited with them twice but the sides didn’t agree to a deal. Much more optimistic this time.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2020
The 31-year-old Ansah, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, is trying to recapture the magic that made him a Pro Bowler in 2015, when he had a career-best 14.5 sacks. Ansah last started double-digit games in a season in 2017.
Heading into his third NFL season, Warner has developed into a stalwart at middle linebacker for the 49ers — he’s started every game for San Francisco since the team selected him in the third round of the 2018 draft — and was named a captain before the 2020 season. On Sunday, Warner led San Francisco with 12 tackles in a win over the Jets.
In addition to Bosa, the 49ers also had several other players leave the game with injuries, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas. Following Sunday’s win, Warner expressed confidence in the 49ers’ ability to overcome the injuries, based on the program’s depth.
“I think this team’s built for that,” Warner said in a video conference with the media. “You mention how we’ve got a lot of depth, and over the years, Kyle and John (Lynch), creating the team that they have, guys are ready to step up. Not only the guys who had to step up today, everybody in the locker room can get better. I’ve got to look myself in the face, see what I can do better to help the defense, so on and so forth.
“We’re excited about getting the win today and getting back to work next week.”