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Bob Quinn Says Decisions Still To Come On T.J. Lang, Ziggy Ansah

Lang could very well return, but a pay cut seems necessary.

February 27, 2019 - 5:11 pm
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Despite dealing with myriad injuries the past two seasons, including at least the sixth concussion of his career in 2018, T.J. Lang has said he wants to play in 2019. Whether or not the Lions bring him back remains to be seen.

General manager Bob Quinn said Wednesday at the combine the team is still deciding what to do with its starting right guard. 

“Everyone’s kind of different in terms of evaluation process on each player," he said. "Some players you can really have that evaluation done in a couple weeks after the season. Some guys linger a little bit longer.

"I’d say T.J.’s in that category of someone that we’re still kind of going through the process, thinking about what we want to do and kind of talking to T.J. a little bit here and there. But those conversations between myself and him we’ll kind of keep private."

Lang has an $11.5 million cap hit in 2019, the final year of his contract, and he's due a $500,000 roster bonus when the new league year begins March 13. The Lions are unlikely to retain him at that cost. Though he's lived up to his salary when healthy, the injury risk is too high. 

To keep him, the Lions could either restructure his deal with per-game bonuses, or cut him, thereby saving about $9 million against the cap, and then work out a new deal. 

Asked after last season about possibly taking a pay cut, Lang said, “I mean, I would be open to playing next year. I don’t care what anything else looks like. If I get another chance to be on this team, then that would be a great opportunity for myself.”

Lang, who turns 32 in September, spent the final eight weeks of last season on injured reserve with a neck injury. He also had elbow surgery earlier this offseason to address an injury he suffered during his time with the Packers. He last played a full season in 2014. 

Quinn also has a decision to make on Ziggy Ansah.

The defensive end is an unrestricted free agent after playing last season on the franchise tag. The Lions could use his ability as a pass rusher, but Ansah's even more of an injury liability than Lang. He was limited to seven games last season with a shoulder injury. 

"Still in the evaluation process with Ziggy," said Quinn. "Ziggy obviously had a little bit more of a serious injury towards midseason, so that’s probably more of a medical conversation than anything else right now. I don’t really have those answers."

After racking up 14.5 sacks in 2015, the last time he was fully healthy, Ansah has 18 sacks combined over the last three seasons. Barring a discount, it's unlikely the Lions re-sign him. There appear to be more appealing pass rushers in both free agency and the draft.