It's franchise tag season, and the fever has officially reached Detroit. On Tuesday, the Lions announced that they used the franchise tag on defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who joins Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry on the list of tagged players so far.

Ansah, 28, has been the team's top pass rusher ever since they used the fifth-overall pick on him in the 2013 NFL Draft. In his time in Detroit, he's racked up 44 sacks in five seasons. In a full 16-game season in 2015, he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl by registering a career-best 14.5 sacks. In a 14-game 2017 season, he collected 12 sacks. Among 4-3 defensive ends, Ansah was the 14th-most productive pass rusher this past season, according to Pro Football Focus, which also factored in his quarterback hits (7) and hurries (19). 

It's important to note that he hasn't been completely healthy during the past two seasons. But he's a good player on a defense that ranked 20th in sacks. The Lions, with defensive guru Matt Patricia now in charge, couldn't afford to let him walk away for free. Not when they're situated in the same division as Aaron Rodgers.

It's not yet known how much Ansah would get paid under the tag, but ESPN reported that the expected cost is roughly $17.5 million. That's a lot of money, but the franchise tag doesn't offer any long-term security. If Ansah plays under the tag, he'll be set to become a free agent next offseason.

Even with that cost, the Lions should have cap space to bolster their roster in free agency.

 Of course, the two sides also have until mid-July to reach a long-term contract agreement. 

Ansah was never expected to hit the open market (along with Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence), but even so, it's worth noting that there will be a real shortage of quality defensive ends available in free agency this offseason. The best available options now?