If the Detroit Lions want to keep defensive end Cliff Avril, they’re going to have to put the franchise tag on him or offer him more money than any other team on the open market.
Avril made clear in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio that he has no intention of taking less money to stay in Detroit just because the Lions have a good thing going. Instead, he wants the Lions to reward him for being a big part of the good thing they have going. And he hinted that if the Lions aren’t going to do that, other teams have already expressed interest. (He didn’t mention that other teams expressing interest would violate the league’s tampering rules.)
“There’s no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL,” Avril said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Once you can’t play anymore, they’re going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can.”
Avril has said he doesn’t want to be franchised, but he still holds out hope that the Lions will show him the money on a long-term contract. If the Lions don’t do that, Avril suggested that other teams have already made their intentions clear.
“I kind of think the Lions will try to do the right thing, I guess,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t think the Lions will let me hit free agency. But a few teams have called.”
The Detroit Free Press article based on Avril’s SiriusXM interview doesn’t make an issue of those comments, but if teams have called Avril, those teams are breaking NFL rules. The Lions, who were penalized for tampering last year, will surely be curious to know which teams have called one of their players.
“I just want to be paid as one of the guys that’s helping the team grow,” Avril said. “I want to be there. We have a young D-line. But I know it’s a business, and you only hit free agency once or twice in your career, so you definitely have to take advantage of it.”
No one can blame Avril for wanting to take advantage. But the Lions can blame other teams if they’re trying to get an unfair advantage on signing Avril.