As expected, the Lions have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril.
The team and Avril could not come to an agreement on a long-term contract today so the team placed the one-year franchise tag on him before today’s 4 p.m. deadline. The move prevents Avril from hitting free agency March 13.
Placing the non-exclusive tag on Avril allows him to negotiate with other teams, but the Lions would have the right to match any offer or be compensated with two first-round selections.
The Lions will pay Avril $10.6 million next season, which is a hefty raise from the $2.61 million he made in 2011. Avril is bound to play under the tag next season unless an agreement on a long-term deal can be made before July 15. After that date, Avril has no choice but to play next season under the tag or not play at all.
The franchise tag certainly isn’t an ideal move for a Lions team looking for salary cap relief, but losing Avril ultimately proved to be a worse option in the long run.
Avril, 25, has improved his sack total each season since being drafted in 2008 by the Lions. In 47 career games (44 starts), Avril has 30 sacks, 129 tackles, 14 forced fumbles, 12 passes defended and two touchdowns.
His 11 sacks led the team last season and his six forced fumbles were second-most in the NFL to only the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs (7). Avril also recovered three fumbles, the second most in the league.
Avril became the first Lions player to register 10 sacks and have at least one fumble return touchdown and one interception return touchdown in the same season. He’s only the sixth player since the NFL started registering sacks as a statistic in 1982 to accomplish that feat, and the first since 2006 (DeMarcus Ware).
His season earned him the Lem Barney Defensive MVP Award, as voted by his teammates.
The Lions will continue to negotiate with Avril’s agent Brian Mackler on a long-term deal, but can now shift some focus to getting some of the other team’s key free agents signed knowing that Avril will be a Lion next year.
Tags: Cliff Avril
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 19 Comments »