Cliff Avril “probably won’t be there” on July 26, when the Detroit Lions open up training camp.
With the NFL‘s Franchise Tag Deadline now past, negotiations have come to an end between Avril and the Lions, with neither side able to come to an agreement. Avril and the team are instead forced to table the negotiations until after the 2012 season is finished, something Avril is definitely “disappointed” about.
Avril spoke realistically about the developments after the talks broke down:
“obviously I’m not one of their top guys right now as far as for getting a deal done. It’s all good. I understand. I just got to keep proving myself.”
The Lions have several players that will be free agents at the end of this season, and with marque players like Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, and Mathew Stafford to think about, the team felt they could not make the long term financial commitment just yet.
For Avril, missing the start of training camp will be a new experience. The hard working Lion has steadily increased his productivity since his arrival in 2008, and he led the team with 11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles last season. With a tandem like Avril and Suh on the defensive line, the Lions are able to produce a fearsome attack that promises to be productive for years to come. It is an investment worth protecting and a deal should have been reached with the aggressive pass rusher.
Maybe the Lions feel that they can plug and play anyone next to Suh, and he will get them extra opportunities. While Suh is good enough to change the complexion of play at the line, Avril not only does well on his own, he provides those same opportunities for Suh.. The Lions have definitely taken a gamble with a guy who had “lifer” written all over him.
Things are not all bad for the explosive lineman. Under the Franchise Tender, Avril is guaranteed $10,6 million this season, an amount that will go up another 20% if the Lions choose to place the franchise tag on him again next season.
For now, Avril plans on skipping the beginning of training camp, and will be home on August 3rd for his son’s first birthday.
I doubt that Avril will sit out for long. He has always been a nose to the grindstone type of player, and I do not see him wanting to miss too much time with his team.
After all, they are winning in Detroit, and who would want to miss that?
Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or subscribe to Jeff Everette-RantSports.com on both Facebook and Google+ for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.
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