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Avril could be headed for franchise tag, holdout

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It sounds like Lions will likely use the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril. And it sounds like Avril won’t be happy about it.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that the team is likely to use the tag on Avril if he doesn’t reach a long term deal by March 5. Multiple sources told Birkett the team simply does not want to lose Avril and would have to deal with the big cap number that comes with the tag.

The news is not a shock; we guessed that Avril would be tagged in our franchise primer this week. Even if the move isn’t a surprise, it won’t make Avril happy.

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News spoke to Avril.  The 26-year-old said he would “probably” be upset and potentially skip offseason work into training camp if he couldn’t get a long-term deal.  A big extension looks unlikely.

It’s a tricky spot for Detroit. Avril would make massive bucks on the open market and they have other big contracts like Calvin Johnson to worry about. If Johnson doesn’t get a deal soon, his huge cap number and Avril’s projected $11 million tag would take up an enormous portion of their team’s salary cap.

You know things have changed in Detroit when they have these sort of good problems. It’s going to be difficult to keep all this young talent together.

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32 Responses to “Avril could be headed for franchise tag, holdout”
  1. so1ar says: Feb 18, 2012 3:31 PM

    i like me some Avril, but if he wants too much, let him go. Calvin is far more important to the team, and we got some capable backups that can help out on the defensive line.

  2. bearsstillsuck says: Feb 18, 2012 3:31 PM

    Let him walk. The draft is full of potential replacements.

  3. frankgarrett says: Feb 18, 2012 3:47 PM

    The Lions will be the Buc’s from this year next year.. and soon after drift back into being bottom feeders with the vikings .. Can’t wait

  4. bodester says: Feb 18, 2012 3:47 PM

    Old Lions would have let Avril walk. New Lions will make a deal. Mayhew knows that like with Barry, you don’t get to the Super Bowl on one players shoulders. You need many stars.

  5. klunge says: Feb 18, 2012 3:49 PM

    Calvin stays, tag & trade Cliff, draft well to bring in new talent at lower cost. Only sensible thing in their situation.

  6. nflfollower says: Feb 18, 2012 3:59 PM

    Avril is a pretty good speed rusher with a knack for creating turnovers. I have been a big fan of his, but I have a hard time believing he is worth the avg of the top 5 payed DE’s in the league. This might not be what avril wants, but ultimately may be an even tougher pill for the lions to swallow, especially considering their cap situation.

  7. crackbubba says: Feb 18, 2012 4:00 PM

    They need to resign Johnson to make room to even tag Avril. Then then need to sign him. Its a good thing to have these problems.

  8. ajknox88 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:02 PM

    Avril is a playmaker in the LIONS defense but I’m not sure he would do as well in a different defense unless theres another DT right next to him taking up 2 blockers every snap.

    I like the guy he’s cool on twitter, but I think we shouldn’t franchise him if they don’t come to an agreement.

    Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson combo would be just as effective.

  9. firstpitchslam says: Feb 18, 2012 4:10 PM

    Don’t like the franchise tag? Talk to your union rep. Like the Godfather says, “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

  10. ajknox88 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:10 PM

    Also the Lions could put Sammie Hill in place of Suh and move Suh outside to the RE spot on occasion, then rotate in Andre Fluelen for Hill/Corey Williams/Nick Fairley.

    This isn’t going to be an issue for the defense line if we don’t sign him.

  11. dgbk says: Feb 18, 2012 4:20 PM

    the lions need to keep avril, no reason to break up a good thing…. its easy to say he produce because of suh or u can easily fill his spot wit draft picks…….. im sure opinions will change if rookie x dont pan out ppl will say should of kept cliff…. pay him he has been solid for the lions since he came into the league

  12. vikescry1 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:26 PM

    the cost of winning is high, good luck detriot time to learn how hard it is to stay competative in this league.

  13. bigpantherfan says: Feb 18, 2012 4:27 PM

    I dont blame him for wanting out of Detroit

  14. asublimeday says: Feb 18, 2012 4:39 PM

    Well they got gift-wrapped a playoff bearth by the cutler injury, and remain the third best team in the division.

  15. Soulman45 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:56 PM

    They need to put the tag on him for a tread NE do it all the time to stay under the cap draft picks will do, a number 2 is all the team can get.

  16. newguy925 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:59 PM

    Trade him, get picks, move on. This is a classic move for a me first player that cares more about his pocket than winning. Avril could stay for probably 8mil a year for 6, that’s a lot of cheese. I question if he wants to play in Detroit and I would be shocked if anyone is willing to give him the 11-12 mil he is reportedly asking for. I wouldn’t take this guy on without a healthy portion of his pay being determined by incentives.

    1 double digit sack year in a contract year next to a probowl caliber dt. You think he’s worth what he’s asking?

  17. lifetimeskinsfan739 says: Feb 18, 2012 5:02 PM

    Bring mario into town, he would take less money then his worth to play next to suh and sick nick fairly.

  18. mjkelly77 says: Feb 18, 2012 5:47 PM

    “You know things have changed in Detroit when they have these sort of good problems. It’s going to be difficult to keep all this young talent together.”

    I blame Mr. William Clay Ford and other owners who have recent bad records and as a consequence, also have handfuls of high cap cost first round selections. After an overdue sensible rookie pay scale was finally instituted, the high cap guys from prior years have become a problem to hold on to. These owners should have insisted on some sort of equitablity formula with the new CBA. The formula would have fairly equated the exhorbitant salaries with the new current rookie salaries. Detroit woulnd’t be in such a salary cap bind now. The Indianapolis Colts are gonna rock over the next 2-3 years because of this.

  19. mjkelly77 says: Feb 18, 2012 5:52 PM

    Pay him? Pay him? Pay him? Pay him? Apparantly everyone doesn’t realize that a salary cap imposes expenditure constraints.

  20. okieviacal says: Feb 18, 2012 6:19 PM

    Avril is an absolute gamer, but he obviously benefited from Detroit’s defensive line depth. I’d say that the Lions can show the same level of productivity without Avril because they have DE depth and should be able to find another speed rusher in the draft. Avril isn’t worth the sacrifice the Lions would need to make to keep him.

  21. funktron2x says: Feb 18, 2012 7:48 PM

    You’re going to be waiting for a while frankgarrett. Freeman ain’t Stafford, nobody is close to Calvin and the DL in Detroit would start over TBs. The Lions are not the Bucs.

  22. everybodyhateschris1 says: Feb 18, 2012 8:43 PM

    frankgarrett says: Feb 18, 2012 3:47 PM

    The Lions will be the Buc’s from this year next year.. and soon after drift back into being bottom feeders with the vikings .. Can’t wait
    —————————————————————

    I respect everyone’s opinion even though sometime it couldn’t be further from the truth but the minute you said “Can’t wait” gave it all away and let everyone know exactly what your intentions/motivation was. It turned it into a hater comment as you are acting as a man in desperation wishfully thinking a winning season for the Lions was just a fluke.

  23. lionhunter909 says: Feb 18, 2012 8:53 PM

    newguy925 says: Feb 18, 2012 4:59 PM

    Trade him, get picks, move on. This is a classic move for a me first player that cares more about his pocket than winning. Avril could stay for probably 8mil a year for 6, that’s a lot of cheese. I question if he wants to play in Detroit and I would be shocked if anyone is willing to give him the 11-12 mil he is reportedly asking for. I wouldn’t take this guy on without a healthy portion of his pay being determined by incentives.

    1 double digit sack year in a contract year next to a probowl caliber dt. You think he’s worth what he’s asking?

    Newguy925, great post. I question Avril’s wanting to stay in Detroit also. He has a good shot winning a Super Bowl there in the next few years. And he would take a few extra million to go play for a mediocre or even crappy team? I mean how much money do some of these guys really need? He is a very good player but the Lions cannot afford to pay him 10-12 million per year.

  24. alwaters9 says: Feb 18, 2012 9:16 PM

    The Lions would NOT use the franchise tag on Avril. They would suggest that they might to try and get a long term deal done. If not, they will let him walk. He is not worth $12 million dollars.

  25. alwaters9 says: Feb 18, 2012 9:19 PM

    And lionhunter, they can’t trade him, he is a free agent.

  26. lionsmark09 says: Feb 18, 2012 9:27 PM

    Let him go if he wants too much. They can be creative and fill his spot as someone mentioned earlier. How can you address the secondary when you have 60mil of cap space tied up in the d-line?

  27. klunge says: Feb 18, 2012 10:25 PM

    alwaters9 says:Feb 18, 2012 9:16 PM

    The Lions would NOT use the franchise tag on Avril. They would suggest that they might to try and get a long term deal done. If not, they will let him walk. He is not worth $12 million dollars.
    ———————————————————
    They really NEED to tag him though, even if they plan to let him walk. They will want more than a 3rd round compensatory pick for his loss. I suspect it will be like the Pats’ did with Cassel, tag/trade then let the receiving team do the negotiating of the long-term contract. Cliff is worth a low 1st or high 2nd, those picks are valuable to a good GM like Mayhew who are pretty good sorting the higher-round talent. Anyways I hope it works out this way.

  28. redwing1 says: Feb 18, 2012 11:25 PM

    If Avril wants monster bucks and would hold out if he’s tagged, I say let him walk. See if he puts up those kind of #s playing next to DTs that don’t command double teams.
    Extending Calvin, re-signing Tulloch and bringing in a top DB (Finnegan/Carr) is much more important

  29. yevrag3535 says: Feb 19, 2012 12:17 AM

    Lions will implode next year. Really had a season of smoke and mirrors.

  30. detroitcityryda says: Feb 19, 2012 12:28 AM

    Mad? He will get 10 million that’s more than enough to live rich for the rest of his life , these players are so greedy these days .people out there struggling in this harsh times across the globe but this fool needs that 50 million so he can make it rain every day .

  31. ivo11 says: Feb 19, 2012 2:51 AM

    I like the guy but I dont think lions should break the bank. They have more needs that should be addressed (resigning Calvin and Tulloch). the only DE I would break the bank for is Mario Williams, but that’s wishful thinking

  32. majbobby says: Feb 19, 2012 9:15 AM

    I hope he does not get tagged I would love him playing in Buffalo next to two very good and one Probowl DT in Williams and Dareus.

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