The Detroit Lions desperately need all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball, but acquiring that help will be difficult, especially financially and Lions defensive end Cliff Avril doesn’t seem to be making things any easier. When asked about his pending free agency, Avril said he doesn’t think he’s willing to give Detroit any sort of discount to keep him. He waited until literally the last minute to sign his $10.6 million tender as a free agent last season and doesn’t appear willing to sign it at all this year.
That could cause problems for a Detroit team with several other free agents to address and only a little under $9 million to spare in order to stay under the NFL‘s tentative 2013 salary cap of $121 million. The franchise tag alone on Avril would put the Lions over the cap and a long-term deal seems unlikely at this point because that would also use up most, if not all, of the Lions’ remaining cap room this year.
Avril is a solid player and at just 27 years old, will be a hot commodity on the free agent market when the signing period begins in mid-March. A former third-round pick, he will easily draw an average salary of $10 million as a free agent, especially if he signs with a team desperate to improve its pass rush right away. Either way, he’s going to put the Lions in a bind with whatever he decides.