Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
Blog Entry

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:30 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 9:49 am
Avril wants to stay in Detroit but would prefer to avoid the franchise tag.  (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Despite what Marshall Faulk might say, Matthew Stafford is a big reason that the Lions have gone from 0-16 in 2008 to 10-6 in 2011 and qualified for then playoffs for the first time since 1999. But Stafford and that high-powered offense wasn't the only reason.

Detroit's defense also had something to do with the organization's turnaround. According to, the unit ranked ninth overall last season, up from 22nd in 2010, and 32nd during the winless '08 season. So, yes, we tip our cap to you, Gunther Cunningham.

In an effort to keep the group together, the Lions are hoping to re-sign defensive end Cliff Avril, who would prefer a long-term deal over the franchise tag.

"I honestly don't know if they're going to franchise me or make a deal," Avril said Friday. "I want a deal, obviously."

On Friday evening, the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett writes that while two sources close to negotiations "stopped short of saying Avril definitely will be tagged, both said that’s the likely outcome if the two sides don’t agree on a long-term deal before March 5, the deadline for applying the tag."

Avril, 25, led the Lions with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles last season, and he'll be in demand should he hit the open market. If he's tagged, Avril can expect around $10.6 million which, thanks to the new CBA signed last July, is $2.6 million less than 2011 franchise tag.

As's Will Brinson noted earlier this week, "Previously, the franchise-tag number was generated by averaging the top-five salaries at a position to determine a number for that position. This year, the franchise tag value will be a percentage of the overall salary cap figure for the previous five years."

But this isn't an either-or situation (or at least it doesn't have to be). Just because the two sides don't come to a long-term agreement prior to March 5 doesn't mean they can't at some point this offseason.

"The franchise tag actually doesn't exist simply to keep a guy around for another year without paying him big money," Brinson wrote Tuesday. "It's to keep a guy around while you work out a long-term contract.

As far as the Lions are concerned, Avril is an integral cog in what they want this defense to become, but issues remain. Detroit still needs depth at cornerback, which could be addressed in the first round of April's NFL Draft. First things first, however: keeping Avril, whether that means a long-term contract, the franchise tag or a combination of the two.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed

Since: Jan 7, 2008
Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:39 am

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

I agree. If you're going to spend tag money you may as well go for Mario Williams. Williams and Suh would be frightening.

Since: Jan 23, 2012
Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:39 pm

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Come on Lions! Dont start making silly mistakes,that will end up costing you a playoff run...It was fun watching the lions this year,Dont ruin it!

Since: Dec 16, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:26 pm

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!   good player, not worth Franchise money...  

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:54 am

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

The Lions have nearly half their 2012 cap locked up for just 4 players - Stafford, Suh, KVB and Johnson.   They can't afford to lose one of their only talented players on defense, but can they afford to keep him? 

If they want to keep Avril it probably means they have to cut KVB and Corey Williams.  If Nick Fairley doesn't step up in a big way that D-line, even with Avril, won't be as good as it was in the last couple of years. 

Add to that the fact that their starting MLB from 2011 is a FA, this defense could find it difficult to move forward next year. 

Since: Feb 17, 2012
Posted on: February 18, 2012 8:56 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 4:44 am

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Why does there always have to be a condescending smart ass know it all in every comments section.  Get a life people.  No writer is perfect.  Agree or disagree with the opinion, yet stop there.  Your complaining says more about you than the writer. 

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2012 3:21 am

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Who is "Everybody Else"??

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 1:32 am

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Was it Avril doing it, or was it the fact everybody else was double teamed?

Since: Oct 10, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:51 pm

Report: Lions likely to tag Avril if no new deal

Another half ass story. He is a DE not a linebacker. You get paid to cover sports?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or