Lewand: Tough roster decisions lie ahead; suspensions likely for Fairley and Leshoure

Posted by ttwentyman on June 12, 2012 – 5:05 pm

Lions defensive end Cliff Avril isn’t expected to participate in minicamp this week as both he and the team continue to negotiate a long-term deal. Lions president Tom Lewand told 97.1 The Ticket in an interview Tuesday that he spoke to Avril’s representatives on Tuesday and those talks are ongoing.

If the two sides don’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal before July 16, Avril will have to play the 2012 season under the one-year franchise tag worth $10.6 million that the team designated him back in March.

Lewand was later asked if the Lions could afford to sign Avril to a lucrative long-term deal, consistent with some of the other deals top pass rushers in the NFL have been signing in recent years, with the current salary structure of the team and big money already being paid out to players like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh.

“At some point in time that becomes a good problem to have,” Lewand answered. “Not that you ever want to lose good players, you don’t, but our system is such that if you look at the good teams throughout the NFL, the ones that have been consistent contenders on a year-in and year-out basis: Pittsburgh, New England, Indianapolis during the Peyton Manning days, Green Bay … they lose good players.

“They have to make tough decisions about whether to re-sign a guy, whether to trade somebody. Those are problems that we hope to have because you got an abundance of good players that you can’t afford to keep under the salary cap system. At some point in time, we’re going to be facing some of those tough decisions.”

The Lions would ideally like to sign Avril to a long-term deal at a cap-friendly $8 or $8.5 million per season. The problem is the going rate on top-tier pass rushers in the league right now is $10 to $12 million per season and up.

“The first contract we did in the 2012 offseason was for Calvin Johnson and I think that sent a message loud and clear to our locker room, and hopefully to this community and to our fans, that we are committed to keeping the nucleus of our team together for a long period of time and hopefully Cliff is a part of that,” Lewand said. “Hopefully we can work something out, but there will be tough decisions coming down the road. It’s not something anyone wants to have, but when it comes to picking problems that’s one of the best ones.”

It’s possible some of those “tough decisions” are part of the reason Avril isn’t signed past 2012?

Lewand also addressed the topic of possible suspensions for defensive tackle Nick Fairley and running back Mikel Leshoure for their offseason run-ins with law enforcement:

“We can’t suspend them, that’s part of the CBA, that’s part of the restrictions that we operate under,” Lewand said. “Obviously that discipline falls under the commissioner’s purview. And suspensions are certainly something that could be a possibility and I would say are likely if you look at similar types of incidences on other teams.

“But typically what the commissioner likes to do is see it play out in the legal process, see the matter is adjudicated because we can’t lose sight of the fact, and I’m not making excuses for anybody, trust me, but the reason the commissioner lets the legal process play out is because of the time-honored tradition of innocent until proven guilty.”


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »


17 Responses to “Lewand: Tough roster decisions lie ahead; suspensions likely for Fairley and Leshoure”

  1. By ElReyDeLeon on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    “Not that you ever want to lose good players”, “At some point in time, we’re going to be facing some of those tough decisions.”
    Sounds like to me that the Front Office is waiting for a trade offer for Avril. I seriously doubt they are going to pony up $10-12 million per year for a 1 year performance. He’ll be traded before the season starts; probably to Dallas for a CB.

  2. By carol wadsworth on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    What i always say is the ones that are traded will come back and bite ya in the end.those guy,s should have known better than to do what they did, they are not teenagers anymore, let,s grow up boy,s and be a man you want high wages well show us you are worth what you want, and not do the things you do.we will see how everyoneperforms this year. hope the lions can make a good come back. and show everyone how great they can play. Enough ** Said.

  3. By littlelionluver on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    Avril is not going anywhere, this year. Ten million reasons not to, and the line needs him to be more productive in the run game, and he knows that. He wants a ring, and we have as good of shot as anyone with a reworked secondary, and any kind of run game. We can throw and get after any Q.B., we just need to run and stop the run and Lombardi will be coming to it’s new home.

  4. By wendymaddy on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    I sincerely hope Detroit’s management decides to give Cliff this year at the franchise price of $10 mil, just to motivate him a little bit, then split the difference for the rest of a long term deal at $9 mil. That way, if he continues to do his spectacular best, he can always renegotiate for that extra million to be thrown in going forward year to year, because he’s worth it! some people just do better when they have an extra incentive, and Cliff may just be that kind of a guy. What do you think, guys? Deal? We love to see Cliff play because he’s always got some surprises for us that win points.

  5. By Don F on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    I dont think Avril is worth top defensive lineman pay. I think if he was traded or let walk, he would not be nearly as good. Just look at the guys he lines up with. He thrives because he is the one whos not game planned for. He should take the 8 mill a year and be happy hes going to get stats like that with Detroit ,because he wont get them any where else.

  6. By micdet20 on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Cliff Avril needs to be kept he is a franchise player it would be better to trade suh before Avril i mean Avril broke records this last year the only DE for Detroit to have 11 sacks 2 interceptions 3 fumble recovery’s and some touchdowns in there 2 and lets face it the lions made it to the playoffs this last year because of cliff and he won us some games you cant really say that about to many DE i say lets make a deal and at the very least keep him on the team for this upcoming year and see us make great things happen GO LIONS!!!!!!!!

  7. By jeff on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Trade? No one will bite. 2 first rounders? No one will offer us that. Why do you think we drafted a pass rusher? The lions are being more than fair with Avril. ANY average pass rusher can come to Detroit and get 10 sacks. With Suh and the rest of our talented D line…I think what the Lions think: Avrils stats are over blown because of his fellow players. Put him on a team where he is the best D lineman and he would struggle to get 8 sacks. If he dosnt take the deal the Lions should let him go.

  8. By bubba on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    There are too many players getting huge contracts. Avril should get paid,but Stafford is coming to the end of his 70 mil, contract..Where is all the money coming from? Stafford will get his, because he is the Q.B.,
    The Lions have money issues with their top ten draft picks over the years,and they have done what exactly to justify it?

  9. By jcspooner on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    One year wonders don’t deserve top 5 money. He is a good player from from great and you have Stafford and other guys who are going to want to be paid top 5 money at there position in the near future. If he isn’t willing to take the money you put out on the table then back of and move on next year. He is a great guy and fits what we are trying to do but if he is that greedy and wants to take up to much salary you have to move on. You have way to much money tied up in a front 4 that was average at best last year with him in the lineup. GO LIons

  10. By Emory 777 on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Avril is good but the rest of the D line makes him look better. Avril will play this year. I can’t see him walking away from 10.6 million dollars and sit out the rest of the season. Getting paid over $650,000 per game is a lot of money to turn down. If he doesn’t sign the tender he cannot play for another team this year because of the franchise tag. I don’t think the Lions will trade him this year unless they can get a quality cornerback or offensive lineman. I believe we are pretty well set in the other positions.

  11. By August on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Just the sign the guy. He is freakishly athletic and a vital part of the line. If Vanden Bosch was younger, id feel better about letting him go and starting Willie Young in his place but Kyle is older now and starting to lose a step. What’s the best we could get for him anyway?

  12. By RetiredK9 on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t sign him. Let him sit out. Especially with Fairley facing two to four games because he’s an idiot, that’ll mean half of the Lions’ starting defensive line will not be there for the first quarter of the season at least. So Suh will be double-teamed, and the Lions won’t have a pass rush. They’ll start out in the tank, make a late run, and just miss the playoffs. Sounds like a plan.

  13. By RetiredK9 on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    By the way, for all of you guys who are talking about trading Cliff Avril, you can’t, because he’s not under contract. He hasn’t signed the tender. So technically he’s not the Lions’ property to trade. I think. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  14. By littlelionluver on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Hey retiredk9, are you a Lion’s fan? Please don’t even discuss missing the playoffs on OUR site, bad for business!

  15. By william magdalena on Jun 17, 2012 | Reply

    Doesn’t anyone find the timing of Avril’s “emergence” a little coincidental? Suh comes in, lines up next to Avril, commands the double team, and Avril has a great year. I like Cliff, don’t get me wrong, but there are some guys behind him that MAY be able to do as well. I don’t think he can demand that kind of scratch without a little more proof, thats all.

  16. By dreese313 on Jun 17, 2012 | Reply

    Mr Ford give him his money . The Lions are poised to be a great team . I WOULDNT give him too much.

  17. By redwingliger on Jun 17, 2012 | Reply

    It he were putting up those numbers from KVB’s position, and or where as tenacious as KVB then he would be worth top DE money, but lets consider the competition he is going up against week in and week out. If he was as good as the aging KVB does anyone think he wouldn’t be rushing from the QB’s blind side? Personally I think a 8 million is quite generous, and I’m sure Cliff and the lions could put performance bonus clauses in effect based on his year end stats. Another option would a two year contract at 8 million, with a future long term contract in the future should he continue to improve and be able to replace KVB when he retires. Those are my thoughts on this situation.

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