When the Lions put the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, both sides said they wanted to get a long-term deal done. But it appears that Avril will play on the one-year franchise tender this season.
In a story about the Lions turning their attention to re-signing linebacker Stephen Tulloch, Anwar Richardson of MLive.com writes that the Lions and Avril are far apart in negotiations, and the odds of Avril agreeing to a long-term contract this offseason are very slim.
That means Avril will probably skip most or all of the offseason and eventually sign the one-year franchise tender, and play out the season on the one-year tender.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing for either side. For the Lions, working out a long-term contract with Calvin Johnson means they won’t have to use the franchise tag on Johnson next year, and they’ll have it available to franchise Avril again if he has another good season in 2012. For Avril, the franchise tender is a one-year guaranteed salary of $10.6 million, and if he gets franchised again next year he’d be guaranteed a 2013 salary of $12.7 million, or 120 percent of this year’s salary. Making $23.3 million over the next two years wouldn’t be a bad thing.
So while both sides said they wanted to get a long-term contract done, neither side should be too disappointed if it doesn’t get done. And even if a long-term deal between the Lions and Avril isn’t done a year from now, that wouldn’t be too bad, either.