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Lions want to sign Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril to new contracts

APTOPIX Lions Saints Football

In addition to announcing that all Lions coordinators have signed contract extensions, G.M. Martin Mayhew has said that the team will try to sign two of its key players to new contracts.

According to Anwar Richardson of MLive.com, Mayhew said the team wants to sign receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive end Cliff Avril to new contracts.

The motivations are entirely different.  Avril will become a free agent in March.  Johnson, who signed a six-year deal when taken with the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, has unlocked a cap-busting base salary of $14 million for 2012, according to NFLPA records.

Signing Johnson to a long-term deal would drop his cap number and free up more money to do other business.  Likewise, the failure to sign Johnson would require the Lions to use the franchise tag in 2013 to keep Calvin around, with a one-year tender that would be, at a minimum, $16.8 million.

And so the Lions, who suddenly have become competitive, will now have to deal with the downside of being a winning team — finding a way under the salary cap to retain enough players to remain competitive.

It’s a problem that Lions fans surely will welcome.

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59 Responses to “Lions want to sign Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril to new contracts”
  1. bigjdve says: Jan 12, 2012 3:15 PM

    Good for Johnson and Avril. Both have busted their humps, so they deserve to get paid.

    Also I think it interesting that the Lions have already started talking about paying Johnson before he said too much, and I think it is great he hasn’t been crying about not being paid what he is worth.

    I think that this will be good.

  2. ajknox88 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:16 PM

    Both these deals will get done. It’s the others I’m nos so sure about i.e. Tulloch

  3. jaggedmark says: Jan 12, 2012 3:16 PM

    Good to see Cliff Avril finally get some press the 2nd half of the year. What a terrific season he had. Low key guy, with high level game.

  4. shaggytoodle says: Jan 12, 2012 3:17 PM

    They are going to have an expesnive Dline which is all fine and dandy, but when you have guys like Cutler and Rodgers, in your division you better be able to afford DBs your not always going to be able to pressure QBs, so your guys better be able to cover.

    Calvin Johnson is a beast, and deserves to get paid.

  5. jcd213 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:19 PM

    Calvin should and will be the highest paid receiver in the NFL.

  6. adderalljack says: Jan 12, 2012 3:20 PM

    MegaTron= Beast+QualityDude

    Hope the Lions treat him as such.

  7. usmutts says: Jan 12, 2012 3:21 PM

    Not a Lions fan, but they need to do whatever it takes to lock up Calvin Johnson. He’s about the best football player in the whole league. Scary good.

  8. medtxpack says: Jan 12, 2012 3:22 PM

    Lions rejoice that Matt Millen was not mentioned in this article.

  9. tigers182 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:26 PM

    So no top draft pick and struggling to pay good players? How do playoff team operate like this?

  10. dallasholeinroofcowboys says: Jan 12, 2012 3:26 PM

    What about the problem of keeping a city full of auto trade workers employed???

    Mr. Ford has much more on his plate than to worry about stroking checks to the Prima Donna that is “MegaTron”.

  11. yettyskills says: Jan 12, 2012 3:27 PM

    Signing Gunther Cunningham was a mistake and is going to hold the Lion back until they replace him.

  12. gmen1987 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:27 PM

    Most Lions fans should be happy that the organization is making moves to keep some of it’s star players.

  13. discosucs2005 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:28 PM

    Calvin Johnson is arguably the league’s best at his position and I would hope the Lions plan on keeping on their team for his entire career. (I guess actually I should hope that they don’t and the 49ers can sign him lol).

  14. garyman1 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:28 PM

    “Lions want to sign Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril to new contracts”

    Even Matt Millen could have come up with that strategy. Might want to also try getting one or two corners.

  15. jimmysimpson55 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:29 PM

    So does every other NFL team.

  16. goodluckking says: Jan 12, 2012 3:33 PM

    Lions fans absolutely welcome this as an issue.

    We are even finding a way to deal with the fact that we are so far behind in our draft discussions. I barely have anytime to prepare for the senior bowl.

  17. ProDolphinsTalk says: Jan 12, 2012 3:35 PM

    Que the haters who will say ‘Megatron should play out his rookie deal’. It’s about the cap space and it’s about locking up the most dominant WR in football. Smart move.

  18. nyyjetsknicks says: Jan 12, 2012 3:35 PM

    The lions want to sign Calvin Johnson to a long term deal? I’m glad read this site, I would have never guessed that.

  19. purpleguy says: Jan 12, 2012 3:39 PM

    They’re gonna need a couple supercomputers to figure how to fit those guys under the cap and a Brink’s truck to pay them.

  20. explosionsauce says: Jan 12, 2012 3:39 PM

    I’m guessing Calvin gets it done. He seems like a loyal player, something you don’t see in the NBA.

  21. irongershwin says: Jan 12, 2012 3:40 PM

    When can we start calling him Galvatron?

  22. patriotsadw says: Jan 12, 2012 3:43 PM

    I’d sure hope so…

  23. lionpride10 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:44 PM

    Thanks to Larry Fitzgerald’s crazy new contract, Calvin Johnson will want a kings ransom.

  24. thekiy says: Jan 12, 2012 3:45 PM

    This is Captain Obvious reporting from the Obviouscopter high over Obvious land!

  25. ike1973 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:45 PM

    Don’t worry. Calvin will be a Lion for life.

  26. mylionsroaring says: Jan 12, 2012 3:46 PM

    Get it done!!! After it’s done lets get a corner, lets get Delmas some help, lets start on the O-line by getting better and younger, then lets win a Superbowl!!

    GO LIONS!!! This is just the start of good things!!!

  27. austrianpanther says: Jan 12, 2012 3:48 PM

    Do the Lions need my permission?

  28. ebeg420 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:49 PM

    They can avoid this “problem” very easy……. By bringing Matt Millen back!!

  29. 1captain1 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:49 PM

    So do 8 other teams…

  30. seahawksfan25 says: Jan 12, 2012 3:51 PM

    Give Calvin whatever he wants. He deserves it.

  31. jmphinsfan says: Jan 12, 2012 3:51 PM

    as long as Matt Millen has nothing to do with this, I am pretty sure they will make it work.

  32. deadeye says: Jan 12, 2012 3:54 PM

    Gotta lock down Megatron ASAP!!!!

  33. gottapoop says: Jan 12, 2012 3:56 PM

    What great guy.. a really great guy.. such a great guy. In fact,I have never met him but he is a really really great guy.. so great. Congrats on getting a new contract to a great guy on a bad team.. this is such great news.

  34. polegojim says: Jan 12, 2012 4:05 PM

    @dallasholeinroofcowboys – WOW, where do I begin?
    How shall I rebuke thee…. let me count the ways…

    1) Seriously??? You’re going to knock ownership decisions in… DETROIT? I suggest you get that massive hole in the team fixed. It matches the hole in the roof when its wide open.

    2) Megatron is a primadonna??? Let’s see – Jones, Romo, Bryant, Garrett…I could go on and on. How did they do in your playoff game this year…. oh wait…

    3) As a matter of fact, Mr. Ford takes good care of his autoworkers. I realize you must live in a cowpatty filled bubble, but there are more producers in Detroit than Ford.

  35. anyslacking says: Jan 12, 2012 4:13 PM

    That Lions D-Line confuses me, seems to be great on paper. But how can you have some much invested in group that is 23rd against the run?

  36. camjon32 says: Jan 12, 2012 4:27 PM

    lionpride10 says:

    Thanks to Larry Fitzgerald’s crazy new contract, Calvin Johnson will want a kings ransom.

    My two favorite NFL players mentioned in one sentence. Wanna know why? Neither are “me first” players. Fitzgerald could’ve tested the open market, and WOULD have gotten a kings ransom, probably from a better team but chose to stay and try to make Arizona better. I suspect that Calvin will do the same, assuming Detroit doesn’t try to lowball him, because he seems every bit the good guy he comes off as. Why wouldn’t he? With a very young QB throwing him the ball, they could become among the NFL’s most prolific pass/catch combo in recent memory.

    Calvin was quoted prior to this season that all he wants to do is play for a winner. The Lions are finally figuring out how to do that and hopefully will continue its ascension.

    If they can’t come to an agreement on an extension prior to camp, as much as it pains me to say this, I hope they’re able to trade him…Lord knows we need to patch up a few things on both sides of the ball…

    Diehard Lions fan!!!

  37. woodyg says: Jan 12, 2012 4:30 PM

    Anything to get that DL locked up for years to come ……. What was it again ? ….. 626 yards to the Saints in the Lions ‘one & done’…….. Give ‘em all long term extensions …. LOL.

  38. lolb23 says: Jan 12, 2012 4:30 PM

    While all these teams shop for new GM’s the Lions have one of the best secured in Martin Mayhew. He’ll make this happen, no problem.

  39. kvanhorn87 says: Jan 12, 2012 4:41 PM

    How is 16.8 million the average of the top 5 highest paid wide receivers? There is no way that franchise number is correct. Someone please shed some light. In Philly, they are trying to determine of it is worth the close to 10 mill that it would cost to franchise him. Does it really jump almost 7 million in a year?

  40. nmking26 says: Jan 12, 2012 4:48 PM

    Dear Lions,

    Don’t sign Calvin Johnson.

    Signed,
    Fans of the other 31 teams that would love to sign him themselves.

  41. gdeli says: Jan 12, 2012 4:50 PM

    the vikes wanna sign those 2 to new contracts! haha

  42. FinFan68 says: Jan 12, 2012 4:56 PM

    ProDolphinsTalk says:
    Jan 12, 2012 3:35 PM
    Que the haters who will say ‘Megatron should play out his rookie deal’. It’s about the cap space and it’s about locking up the most dominant WR in football. Smart move.
    —-
    The difference is simple. The team is trying to pay him more money without him asking for it publicly. The Lions recognize his value is real and not some figment of an overinflated ego. The “haters” blast the guys that have a decent year or two and then pout in a corner with their hand out because they suddenly think they should be the highest paid at their position. How many players are willing to renegotiate their deal if they underperform for a year? Some renegotiate as a way to remain on a team or to free up money for additional players but I can’t remember a single player that said “I didn’t get it done this year, here is some money back”

  43. brewcitybummer says: Jan 12, 2012 5:02 PM

    Megatron seems to have an enormous amount of leverage here. Between his production, the very reasonable argument that hes not just the best receiver in the nfl, but perhaps the most valuable non-quarterback offensive player and the money hes due, this contract is going to be huge.

  44. lionsfan54 says: Jan 12, 2012 5:02 PM

    “How is 16.8 million the average of the top 5 highest paid wide receivers?”
    ———————————————————–

    It’s not. The franchise number is the greater of the average top 5, or your current pay + 20%. That’s where the $16.8m came from

  45. sosuhme says: Jan 12, 2012 5:30 PM

    I think Calvin is pleased as can be having Stafford throwing him the ball. This can be by far the most dynamic QB/WR duo in the history of the NFL.

  46. nflfollower says: Jan 12, 2012 6:07 PM

    kvanhorn87 says:
    Jan 12, 2012 4:41 PM
    How is 16.8 million the average of the top 5 highest paid wide receivers? There is no way that franchise number is correct. Someone please shed some light. In Philly, they are trying to determine of it is worth the close to 10 mill that it would cost to franchise him. Does it really jump almost 7 million in a year?

    —-The franchise tag is one of two things to a player: either the avg. of the top 5 salaries at his position, OR a certain percentage higher than the base salary of his final year on contract. The player gets to take whichever of those two is higher. For Megatron, his base salary is over 12 million for next season, and hence the percentage increase over that 12 M comes out to much, much more than the average salary of the top 5 WR’s in the league. So he wins, and a franchise tag would be insanely expensive to use on this guy.

    Go Lions, get it done!!

  47. forthelove says: Jan 12, 2012 6:18 PM

    @bigjdve “and I think it is great he hasn’t been crying about not being paid what he is worth.”

    Keep in mind this guy was taken #2 overall BEFORE the new rookie wage-scale. He’s been getting paid quite handsomely. He’s in the driver’s seat here. Much like Adrian Peterson was.

  48. lks311 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:27 PM

    First, this is the ultimate leverage play for Calvin Johnson. Someone would be willing to pay that young man $20K a year if he let them…they just won’t be winning with the cap number he would create. We”ll find out how bad he wants to win we we see the numbers.

    Second, while Mayhew wants to sign Avril, the market may price him out of the Lions’ range…someone will overpay him. He’ll have to make a choice.

    Third, the Lions’ should thank Atlanta for drafting JJ last year, thus, eliminating Megatron’s hometown as a potential landing spot.

  49. radrntn says: Jan 12, 2012 6:42 PM

    would have to think he is going to want more then Larry’s deal, so maybe 8 years , $125 million, with 60 mil guaranteed

  50. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Jan 12, 2012 6:43 PM

    TRADE JOHNSON TO THE NINERS!!

  51. camjon32 says: Jan 12, 2012 7:22 PM

    ninerswilldominatelikebefore says:
    TRADE JOHNSON TO THE NINERS!!

    Unless the Niners would be willing to trade Willis and a number one, that wouldn’t happen….even then, it might not be enough.

    Plus, I would guess Calvin would die of boredom with Alex Smith passing to him…

  52. snoilog says: Jan 12, 2012 7:31 PM

    What a a great problem to have
    Thank god Schwatz and Mayhew didn’t select Mark Sanchez and be budened with that problem

    GO LIONS

  53. dannyjerome0 says: Jan 12, 2012 7:41 PM

    The D-line is too expensive. Keep Calvin, let Avril go, and let Jackson start at DE. He’s been just as productive as Avril when you factor in his playing time. Also, how the hell did Gunther get a new contract?

  54. liontuss says: Jan 12, 2012 7:48 PM

    Mayhew, the Lions GM, has done an outstanding job cleaning up Millen’s garbage. I am confident that he will make the right moves.

    He reminds me in some ways of Ken Holland of the Red Wings, the best GM in all of sports. Low key but effective.

    Plus he took Jerry Jones to the cleaners with Roy Williams ; -)

  55. snoilog says: Jan 12, 2012 7:53 PM

    WILLIE YOUNG

  56. discosucs2005 says: Jan 12, 2012 9:37 PM

    Did someone really call Calvin Johnson a “Prima Donna?”

    Sometimes Lion fans overdue it when they say “he always throws the ball to the official.” He’s had some nice celebrations in the endzone, but he couldn’t be further away from a Prima Donna. Johnson, Johnson, and Fitzgerald have really been the top tier at their position, and the top tier for class in the NFL the last few years. Anyone that says other wise is probably clouded with bias.

    (I’m a 49er fan, so no bias on this issue here.)

  57. asublimeday says: Jan 12, 2012 11:10 PM

    Cutlers health knocks the lions out next year. They got gift wrapped a playoff game this season with forte and cutler going down.

  58. 1fast84 says: Jan 12, 2012 11:28 PM

    Calvin was stated saying he just wanted to play for a winning team i read in a previous post. If that is true and he is as classy as we all believe him to be he just just take a decent salary so they can improve their weakness’. The amount he gets will prove what his motives really are.
    I think him and fitz do deserve big money though could you imagine both of them on one team?

  59. ray0414 says: Jan 13, 2012 12:17 AM

    and THAT is where the cap problem starts.

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