Detroit Lions Franchise Cliff Avril

By Greg Bolotin

Today the Detroit Lions decided to use their franchise tag on Cliff Avril. Cliff Avril was very clear he did not want the Detroit Lions to use the franchise tag just to have him signed through the 2012 season. Avril wanted a long term contract from the Detroit Lions. Cliff Avril has threatened to hold out, if the Lions did indeed place the franchise tag on him.

Cliff Avril believes his play on the football field warrants him a long term contract extension. His sack production has improved steadily, since he was drafted in the third round by the Lions in 2008. He had a career high with 11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles in 2011. In his career, he has 30 sacks in a total of 57 games played.

Cliff Avril has been a part of the Detroit Lions organization since they had their winless season in 2008. Now the Detroit Lions are a contender for the Super Bowl, making their first playoff appearance since 1999. He’s helped the Detroit Lions build a very strong and talented defensive front-line along side Ndamukong Suh,Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Nick Fairley.

The Detroit Lions do have significant team salary issues. The contracts of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Ndamukong Suh make up about sixty percent of their total team’s payroll. The Detroit Lions knew this off season they would have tough decisions to make. They have other free agents such as Stephen Tullock and Eric Wright that they have to decide to keep or let go.

Cliff Avril is a very talented defensive end and he is only 25 years old. He is going to improve each year he plays in the NFL.  The Detroit Lions knew putting the franchise tag on Avril was at risk because he has threaten to hold out. The Lions could have used the 10.6 million dollars the franchise tag will cost them, and use it on bringing in players to fill Cliff Avril’s void in free agency.

2012 NFL draft is coming up shortly. The Detroit Lions could have drafted a defensive end to replace Cliff Avril. The Lions would have saved salary by doing this. Drafting a defensive end or bringing one via free agency might be a good idea as an insurance policy. In case Cliff Avril’s  holds out through the preseason and into the regular season.

In the end the decision to place the franchise tag on Chris Avril shows the Detroit Lions want to keep him around. Hopefully they can sign him to a long term contract that will keep him from holding out. The Detroit Lions are a better team with him on the field.


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