Friday, January 18, 2013
Hints on Avril's destination
By Tim Kavanagh
Detroit Lions DE Cliff Avril is one of several starters from the club's 2012 edition that is set to hit free agency unless the team extends their contract (or uses the franchise tag on them). Avril, of course, was the franchise taggee this past season, and if the Lions tagged him again, he'd be paid at a rate of 120 percent of that 2012 figure (which would be around $12.7 million for 2013). If the two sides don't work something out by the start of the league year, he'll be an unrestricted free agent.
So where would Avril like to play? During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday, he indicated that he's versatile enough to succeed either in a 4-3 (like the Lions run) or a 3-4. "Honestly, I can play in both systems," Avril declared, per MLive.com. "You know, I played linebacker in college. My senior year is when I pretty much moved to a full-time D-end, so I feel I can play both systems. Rushing is rushing. Either you're standing up or you're in a three-point (stance). Rushing the quarterback is the same thing to me, so I definitely feel I can do both."
He's got a preference over the field surface on which he'll play, as well. "As far as what I would prefer, I definitely wouldn't mind playing on grass, because playing on turf puts the joints in a bad situation after a few years."
Close to half the teams in the league still play on grass, including all three in Avril's home state of Florida. It remains to be seen whether this playing surface idea is a deal-breaker -- something else that's green may be a bigger factor -- but something to monitor as we delve into the free agent pass-rusher market in the ensuing weeks.