Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The pursuit of Cliff Avril
By Tim Kavanagh
The Detroit Lions thought enough of DE Cliff Avril last offseason to place the franchise tag on him, keeping him away from other NFL teams, but only extending his time in a Lions uniform for 2012 (at a cost of $10.6 million). To be clear, the club did offer Avril a three-year, $30 million pact, but the DE chose not to accept that offer, instead hoping that his play in the tagged season would engender bigger offers following the campaign.
As of now, it's tough to tell if he made the right call; though he managed 9.5 sacks in 2012, that's down from 11.0 a year prior, and while he forced two fumbles this past season, he forced six in 2011. Nevertheless, he hopes to work something out to stay in Detroit.
"I would love to be here, but I know how this thing shakes out. I know how this works," he noted, according to the Detroit Free Press. "This is basically my third off-season going into this (free agency), so I just take (it) in stride. We'll see how it goes come March."
The Lions are unlikely to tag Avril again, as they'd have to pay 120 percent of the 2012 tag figure this time around. And if the two sides don't reach a deal by the start of free agency, Avril is certain to draw plenty of interest from teams in need of a pass-rush boost around the league (which is just about all of them, though those with tight cap space may sit this one out).