Report: Cliff Avril set to become a Seattle Seahawk

Posted by ttwentyman on March 13, 2013 – 9:06 pm

Several media outlets are reporting that Cliff Avril is on his way to Seattle to sign a free-agent contract with the  Seattle Seahawks.

The Lions were never thought to be a serious contender to retain the talented defensive end’s services once he became one of the leagues top free agents. Avril was drafted and developed by the Lions, and those are always players you like to keep as an organization, it simply wasn’t in the cards for the Lions with their other needs and Avril’s contract demands.

Details of the deal have not been released, but Avril is expected to command somewhere around the $8 million per-year salary Paul Kruger was given by the Browns.

Avril had 35 tackles and 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season. In 2011, he made a name for himself with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles on way to be named the Lions’ Defensive Player of the Year by his teammates.

The Lions signed free-agent defensive end Jason Jones on Wednesday, who just happened to play for the Seahawks last season.

Avril, 27, received the Lions’ franchise tender last offseason at $10.6 million.

He has 39.5 career sacks and 16 forced fumbles in six seasons, after the Lions drafted him out of Purdue in the third round.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »

As expected, no franchise tag handed out by Detroit Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on March 5, 2013 – 10:54 am

The franchise tag deadline has come and gone and to no one’s surprise, the Detroit Lions passed on franchising any of their would-be free agents.

General manager Martin Mayhew told local reporters twice this offseason that he didn’t plan on using the tag. He was true to his word.

“We’re not going to franchise anybody,” Mayhew said. “It doesn’t make sense for us right now.”

Last year, the Lions placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, which paid him $10.6 million in 2012. The team would have had to pay the young defensive end upwards of $12.7 million, or 120 percent of last year’s salary, if they wished to tag him again.

Two other potential franchise tag candidates for the Lions would have been safety Louis Delmas ($6.91 million) and cornerback Chris Houston ($10.85), but it simply didn’t make sense financially for the Lions.

Eight teams did place the franchise tag on a player prior to Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline:

Buffalo Bills — Safety Jairus Byrd.
Chicago Bears – Defensive tackle Henry Melton
Cincinnati Bengals – Defensive end Michael Johnson
Dallas Cowboys — Linebacker Anthony Spencer
Denver Broncos – Offensive tackle Ryan Clady
Indianapolis Colts — Punter Pat McAfee
Kansas City Chiefs – Offensive tackle Branden Albert
Miami Dolphins – Defensive tackle Randy Starks

Tags: , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »

Would Dunta Robinson or John Abraham fit with Lions?

Posted by ttwentyman on March 1, 2013 – 11:06 am

The Atlanta Falcons got some salary off their books Friday with the release of running back Michael Turner, cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end John Abraham.

Almost immediately, my Twitter account started to erupt with the questions about all three of these players and a possible future with the Lions.

The two names from that list that could fit the most within some of the Lions’ immediate needs are Abraham and Robinson.

Robinson, 30, was scheduled to make $8 million in base salary in 2013.  He started all 16 games for the Falcons last year with 80 tackles, one interception, eight passes defended and 1.5 sacks.

The nine-year veteran has been a starter dating back to his rookie season in 2004 with the Texans.

He’d be an expensive option for the Lions, who would probably prefer to keep veteran free agent Chris Houston instead. Interestingly, Houston was traded to the Lions in 2010 when the Falcons signed Robinson.

If anything, it doesn’t hurt having another veteran cornerback to flood the market. The more talent available, the lower the asking prices get.

Abraham, 34, was slated to make $4.25 in base salary this upcoming season. He’s closer to the end of his career and would only be a stopgap for the Lions, but the 13-year veteran isn’t showing any signs of his age. He had 10 sacks in 2012 and has a combined 32.5 over the last three seasons.

The Lions will have a need for a veteran edge rusher if Cliff Avril leaves via free agency. The team has already parted ways with veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch.

If anything else, the free agent market just got a little more talented.

Tags: ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 18 Comments »

Don’t expect any franchise tag news out of Allen Park

Posted by ttwentyman on February 18, 2013 – 12:49 pm

Monday marks the first day NFL teams can use the franchise tag as a way of preventing players from reaching free agency.

Don’t expect any news out of Allen Park on that front.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew made it clear immediately after the season that he had no plans to use the franchise tag and reiterated that point last week when he spoke to reporters again.

“We’re not going to franchise anybody,” Mayhew said. “It doesn’t make sense for us right now.”

Last year, the Lions placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, which paid him $10.6 million in 2012. The team would have to pay him upwards of $12.6 million, or 120 percent of last year’s salary, if they wished to tag him again.

That isn’t cost effective for a team with so many other needs and unrestricted free agents on the roster.

There was a time this season when safety Louis Delmas seemed like a candidate for the franchise tag – especially since the franchise amount for the safety position (approximately $6.8 million) is the third-lowest next to kickers/punters and tight ends – but injury concerns have probably decreased his value on the open market and the Lions will try to sign him for a much lower annual amount.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »

Lions get a slew of players returning to practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 29, 2012 – 1:03 pm

It’s Week 13 of the NFL season and the Lions seem to be getting a lot healthier.

Safety Louis Delmas returned to the portion of practice open to the media today, though he was a limited participant in drills.

Delmas left the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Texans in the fourth quarter when soreness developed in his left knee. It’s the same knee that’s kept him out of seven games this year.

His return to the practice field is a positive sign, though, that he could potentially play on Sunday when the Lions host the Colts.

Left tackle Jeff Backus also returned to the practice field. Backus had his 187-game consecutive-start streak (including playoffs) broken last week when a hamstring injury kept him out of the lineup. Backus didn’t seem limited in drills today.

Running back Mikel Leshoure (ankle), defensive end Cliff Avril (back) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) all returned to practice as well.

Williams has missed the last three games with the injury.

The only players to sit out of Thursday’s practice were cornerback Jonte Green, who was listed on Wednesday’s injury report with an illness, and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was likely given a day off, per is usual weekly schedule.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Titus Young back at Lions practice; five others sit out

Posted by ttwentyman on November 28, 2012 – 1:03 pm

Receiver Titus Young returned to the portions of Lions practice open to the media today after more than a week away from the team.

Young was inactive for the Thanksgiving Day Game against the Texans and did not practice last week because of disciplinary reasons following the team’s loss to the Packers.

“He needed and the team needed a little time away,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday when Young wasn’t on the practice field. “And that’s not the same with the other inactive guys. But again, it’s not going to be based on what he does away from here, it’s what he does when he’s here with the team.”

Young took reps with the second team and went last in a number of receiving drills during the individual portion of practice. It appears Young will have to earn the trust back from both his head coach and his teammates before he can be an expected contributor on Sunday.

The Lions also welcomed guard Rob Sims and right tackle Gosder Cherilus back at practice. Both players sat out of yesterday’s “bonus practice.”

The team was without defensive end Cliff Avril, safety Louis Delmas, left tackle Jeff Backus, defensive tackle Corey Williams and running back Mikel Leshoure.

The first injury report of the week will be released at 4p.m. today on

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »

Three key starters back at Lions practice today

Posted by ttwentyman on November 15, 2012 – 1:03 pm

The Lions got three key starters back on the practice field Thursday as they continue to get ready for Sunday’s matchup vs. Green Bay.

Cornerback Chris Houston, receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive end Cliff Avril all returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Houston injured his ankle in the fourth quarter last week at Minnesota and did not return to the game. He said afterward the injury wasn’t serious, though. It appears he was right.

Avril, who wasn’t yet cleared to return from a concussion by practice time Wednesday, was cleared sometime after practice and returned to action today.

The Lions also got safety Erik Coleman back after he missed practice yesterday with headaches associated from being poked in the eye.

The Lions are still without safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey and defensive tackle Corey Williams.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 7 Comments »

Houston, Johnson and Avril among seven missing practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 14, 2012 – 1:06 pm

The Lions were without three-quarters of their starting secondary Wednesday at the portion of practice open to the media.

Safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion) remain out, and cornerback Chris Houston joined them after hurting his ankle in last week’s loss to the Vikings.

The Lions host reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Ford Field this Sunday.

Despite not practicing, Delmas looked to have a little more pep in his step. The Lions continue to list him as day-to-day with that left knee injury and it appears he’s getting closer to returning.

The Lions were also without receiver Calvin Johnson, defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive tackle Corey Williams and safety Erik Coleman.

Cornerback Drayton Florence continues to practice while waiting for activation from short-term injured reserve. The Lions don’t have to activate Florence until next week, but he’s expected to be activated later this week and play vs. the Packers. He’s been out since Week 2 when he broke his forearm at San Francisco.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Lions to start same secondary for consecutive weeks; Corey Williams out

Posted by ttwentyman on November 11, 2012 – 12:31 pm

The Lions will start the same four players in the secondary for consecutive weeks for the first time this season today at Minnesota.

With safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey already ruled out, Ricardo Silva and Erik Coleman will get the start.

Coleman recorded his first interception of the season in a win over the Jaguars a week ago and Silva had his first career pick the week prior in a win over Seattle.

Chris Houston and Jacob Lacey will start at cornerback.

The Lions will be without defensive starter tackle Corey Williams with a knee injury. Second-year player Nick Fairley will get his third career start in his place.

Receiver Titus Young and defensive end Cliff Avril, who were both listed as questionable on Friday, will play.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy returns to the starting lineup after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. Levy was leading the team in tackles before the injury and still ranks third with 37, despite missing two games.

Receiver Calvin Johnson, who was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, will start. Johnson practiced for the first time in two weeks on Friday and told reporters this week that his left knee feels better than it did a week ago when he didn’t practice at all but still had seven catches for 129 yards at Jacksonville.

Joining Delmas, Spievey and Williams on the inactive list today are: offensive tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, receiver Brian Robiskie, and quarterback Kellen Moore.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »

Johnson, Young, Avril and Houston return to practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 9, 2012 – 1:14 pm

Four starters returned to the practice field Friday for the Lions.

Receivers Calvin Johnson (knee) and Titus Young (knee), along with defensive end Cliff Avril (back), participated in the portion of practice open to the media for the first time this week.

Johnson didn’t practice at all last week before playing in the Lions’ game at Jacksonville, so it’s a good sign his sore left knee is feeling better.

Cornerback Chris Houston was also back at practice after missing Thursday with flu-like symptoms.

The team was still without safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion), defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (knee).

The injury report with game designations for Sunday’s game at Minnesota will be released at 4 p.m. on

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »