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Lions use franchise tag on Cliff Avril

Cliff Avril AP

Cliff Avril is the latest player to get slapped with a franchise tag ahead of Monday afternoon’s deadline.

The Lions have used the non-exclusive version of the tag on their defensive end. It comes with a salary of about $10.6 million, a big number for the Lions as they head to an offseason that also sees linebacker Stephen Tulloch headed for free agency. The Lions were stuck with a hard choice, though, as letting Avril walk would have been just as bad, if not worse, than creating more cap headaches for themselves by using the tag.

Avril was quite vocal about his lack of interest in receiving the tag earlier this offseason so focus will now shift to whether or not he will skip offseason workouts in protest of the team’s decision. The big cap number for Avril will also increase the need to address Calvin Johnson’s contract in an attempt to shave some money off his own $22 million cap figure for the 2012 season.

If they can’t find a way to get Avril or Johnson’s numbers down before March 13th, Tulloch could leave a big hole at middle linebacker. But, to the Lions’ figuring, that hole wouldn’t be as big as the one they’d have to fill if Avril went to a different team.

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35 Responses to “Lions use franchise tag on Cliff Avril”
  1. raven410 says: Mar 5, 2012 11:51 AM

    The Lions need to focus on signing MEGA long term.

  2. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 5, 2012 11:58 AM

    What kind of depth will the Lions have? Stafford, Megatron, Suh, Avril, you might have ~$50 million locked up for just those guys.

  3. bodester says: Mar 5, 2012 12:10 PM

    Mayhew has been way too quiet. No players cut to make room. No word on Calvin’s contract. No movement on Cliff’ contract which now costs the Lions a lot of money. Basically, the Lions have yet to do a single thing this off season.

  4. illcomm says: Mar 5, 2012 12:13 PM

    Tulloch will be an Eagle soon.

  5. transam7816 says: Mar 5, 2012 12:15 PM

    @nyyjetsknicks

    You’re right but they might think this is their best shot at a Super Bowl.

  6. cheapseater says: Mar 5, 2012 12:15 PM

    First Scobee is franchised and now Avril. “YE$$$$$$$$$” says Jeremy Mincey.

  7. noeffinway says: Mar 5, 2012 12:18 PM

    Mayhew and Co. will get it done right. The Lions will be a playoff team for years to come!

  8. lilbitofsoul says: Mar 5, 2012 12:18 PM

    nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 5, 2012 11:58 AM

    What kind of depth will the Lions have? Stafford, Megatron, Suh, Avril, you might have ~$50 million locked up for just those guys.

    Its funny you say that, I was just thinking to myself that Avril (to me) is a system guy. The line up front has so many guys that offensive lines have to deal with, one guy is bound to make it through. Avril happen to be that guy last year. Dont get me wrong I think hes a guy with skill, but not a 12 Mill per year guy (which is what talks were around Detroit of his desired contract).

    As a lions fan, I wanted to risk letting him go and using the money in the secondary.

    I dont think Avril would be AS good on a team without the disruptive force. Which is probably why he did not want the tag, he knows now that if he has a down year the price drops tremendously.

  9. mikewhorio says: Mar 5, 2012 12:22 PM

    If they aren’t able to get Avril signed long term, this move will bite them big time. Tulloch will be harder to replace given his position and the lack of depth they have there. Avril benefits from the guys up the middle and they have guys like LoJack and Willie Young that could at least fill in and be decent.

    Same ole Lions…

  10. darthhitman77 says: Mar 5, 2012 12:26 PM

    bodester says: Mar 5, 2012 12:10 PM

    Mayhew has been way too quiet. No players cut to make room. No word on Calvin’s contract. No movement on Cliff’ contract which now costs the Lions a lot of money. Basically, the Lions have yet to do a single thing this off season.

    Mayhew is always quiet and I fully expect Avril is signed to a fair deal or traded, this isn’t done yet.

  11. richardhurtz says: Mar 5, 2012 12:28 PM

    Welcome to the Eagles Stephen Tulloch….Fat Andy should personally pick you up at the airport to help fix the weakest LB corps in the league.

  12. mjkelly77 says: Mar 5, 2012 12:47 PM

    I’d rather see someone else make Avril an offer that he accepts. Lions get two future first round draft choices and Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young step up.

  13. suhnami says: Mar 5, 2012 12:51 PM

    Love how people come on and boast about how terrible a move this is, and how stupid the Lions are, blah blah blah…

    they used the “non-exclusive tag” which means Avril has the right to negotiate with any other team, and if they agree on a contract Detroit will be compensated with 2 first round picks….terrible decision huh?? maybe the haters should do more research before spewing about something they know nothing about.

  14. sparty0n says: Mar 5, 2012 12:53 PM

    From now on, very few teams will be impacted the way the Lions are now, if any. They are one of the last teams to be impacted by the old rookie contract structures. With their early 1st round picks, Stafford, Suh, Johnson, still in their rookie deals, all hitting high dollar amounts, they need to restructure some contracts. Under the new plan, teams wont have this issue, at least not with the rookie contracts.

  15. tommyf15 says: Mar 5, 2012 12:56 PM

    nyyjetsknicks says: What kind of depth will the Lions have? Stafford, Megatron, Suh, Avril, you might have ~$50 million locked up for just those guys.

    You have to remember that, in the short term, all this does is prevent Avril from hitting the open market. They have plenty of time- literally months- to negotiate a deal with him for a lower cap number in 2012.

  16. pryor4heisman says: Mar 5, 2012 1:05 PM

    Suhnami, really dumb comment. There is NO TEAM that will give 2 first round picks for that clown. They are overpaying BIGTIME.

    PS. Suhmani? Rename yourself to overratedcheapshotartist

  17. Soulman45 says: Mar 5, 2012 1:07 PM

    This is trade bait he will bring a #3, the team have to put the
    pre-CBA players on the street they cost to much after having them 3 or 4 years developing them you have to get as much as possible.

  18. jeffchadwick says: Mar 5, 2012 1:12 PM

    I don’t get the “Mayhew has been quiet” comment. Free agency starts on the 13th and the draft is in April – was there something else going on in the interim that I’m missing?

  19. richardhurtz says: Mar 5, 2012 1:14 PM

    suhnami – Sorry dude but the only “hate” I see in this thread is YOUR comments.

    Settle down Francis!

  20. majbobby says: Mar 5, 2012 1:25 PM

    Detriot.

    I will give you a Second round pick for Avril

  21. mayhewmania says: Mar 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    Should have let him go! He had way too many personal fouls and the only reason he did well was because he had SUHNAMI in the middle getting doubled and tripled teamed.

  22. pa1913 says: Mar 5, 2012 1:40 PM

    Shoulda tagged tulloch instead

  23. bodester says: Mar 5, 2012 1:51 PM

    I don’t get the “Mayhew has been quiet” comment. Free agency starts on the 13th and the draft is in April – was there something else going on in the interim that I’m missing?

    Yes. Making cap room. In no way can the Lions enter free agency in a week with where they are at right now.

  24. rabidbillsfan says: Mar 5, 2012 2:06 PM

    Gotta agree, Suhnami is off his rocker if he thinks some team plans on swooping in and taking Avril for 2 firsts. The Lions could very easily replace Avril in the draft for a 3rd of that dollar amount, if not less. This was a poor decision on behalf of the Lions. Let him walk and you are guarunteed a pretty decent Comp. pick for losing him as well. Oh, but the Bills front office is the inept one, you know, locking up Stevie for 5 years in a deal that won’t screw the team in the long run. Picking top-5 for most of 2000’s, I would have expected nothing less from Detroit to make atleast one postseason appearance, don’t forget your humble roots Lions fans, it will just make the fall that much worse.

  25. detroitrollin22 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:07 PM

    Philly Can Have Tulloch, I’ll take Luke Kuechly.

  26. suhnami says: Mar 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    so a guy by the name of “pryor4heisman” says I should “rename myself” and then a BILLS FAN is trying to talk about making rational personnel decisions???

    does anyone else see the irony in all of this?? hahahaha

  27. geo91 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:15 PM

    Its too bad a new CBA wasn’t done before Stafford’s draft, we would have much more breathing room now. Teams who are bad for a number of years post-CBA are going to benefit huge.

  28. chitownborn5434 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:54 PM

    No one is giving them 2 1st round picks for him. Their best bet is to sign him long term, hopefully after dealing with megatron. There’s a lot of money wrapped up in just a handful of players.

  29. deltanovembertoronto says: Mar 5, 2012 3:07 PM

    All I have to say is that if they let Tulloch walk they are idiots and will get burned on the run again! If we let him go, we better be drafting a replacement.

    GOOD mike Lb’s are not easy to come by. There is just no way that Schwartz is going to let his dude walk away. He drafted him in Ten and fought tooth and nail to bring him to the lions. Tulloch is more valuable than Avril. Sorry Cliff, lining up next to Suh is a gift from above not to mention a big pay check!

  30. rabidbillsfan says: Mar 5, 2012 3:17 PM

    Suhnami, you have 40 “Thumbs up’s” on your first post, and I’m not sure why. First, Avril is against the tag, and may hold out for a longterm deal. Second, obviously he and the Lions are far apart in negotiating said contract, hence the tag. Third, no team in their right mind would even think of tendering an offer to Avril for the sake of 2 first round picks. Where is the “win” in all of this? If he signs the tender and declines any offer of a long-term deal, you are still hamstrung by his cap-hit. You have until March 13th, Detroit. If you can’t restructure contracts, cut players, or do whatever it is you have to do by then, well, good luck this season when you have scrubs in reserve. Oh, but wait, Detroit is destined for bigger and better things!

  31. geo91 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:28 PM

    I think Willie Young could have done his job well enough, especially if Fairley elevates his game, that way Suh could have bounced outside on occasion and Sammie Lee Hill, Corey Williams and Fairley could play the nose. This money could have gone to Tolluch or possibly Cortland Finnegan

  32. Soulman45 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:59 PM

    @geo91
    You are so so right the Lions could have been as good with out Cliff just by moving some people around.

  33. cwroses1983 says: Mar 5, 2012 5:23 PM

    Ok heres the deal people. The Lions are in a very hard spot right now. Everyone who thinks we should have let him go bc we have nick young and lawrence jackson are crazy. They both are great against the pass, well lets say pretty good against the pass, but neither are the best against the run. Avril is a solid B player, but does do some dumb penalties and I didnt see anyone d-linemen make plays in the last 4 games of the season. Especially against the saints. We def need to cut some players, or restructure contracts. Like Bursleson, Van Denbosch and Corey Williams, that way we can bring back tulloch. we cant afford to lose him because if we r going foward we need him. We havent even done anything about our horendous secondary yet.

  34. jimmylions says: Mar 5, 2012 6:52 PM

    For those of you who are saying the Lions can’t get 2 firsts for Avril, need I remind you we got 2 firsts for Roy Williams!

    Jerry Jones … come take a look at Cliff Avril on tape! You can have him for 2 first rounders, and all of your cheerleaders.

  35. ceskazbrojovka says: Mar 5, 2012 9:06 PM

    id be happy to get a 1st or second for him…..its more not out of the realm of distinct possibility that someone ponies up that much……

    mayhew has proven to be shrewed so far, i dont expect him to crap the bed here.

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