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.