Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/5/14
Detroit_lions_training_dca1

As the offseason heats up for the Detroit Lions’ front office, decision time has finally come.  The first decision made by general manager Martin Mayhew was to place the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril.

The tag will keep Avril in Detroit for the 2012 season for $10.6 million.  Both Avril and Mayhew have said that this isn’t ideal for either party, as both sides would like to see a long term deal get done.  The Lions and Avril will have until July 15th to work out a new contract, or Avril will play the 2012 season under the franchise tag.

What this ultimately means is that the two parties are not close to reaching a deal, but the Lions are not prepared to lose their best pass rusher from a year ago.

While Mayhew and Avril both dislike this move, as a Lions fan, I love it.  Although the Lions will be overpaying for Avril this year, tagging Avril makes a lot of sense to me.

The tag gives Avril another year to prove himself among the best defensive ends in the league.  If he does it, the Lions will likely pay him the kind of money Avril is asking for at this point (which I speculate is in the ballpark of five years/ $40 million).  If he doesn’t produce, the front office may cut ties with Avril and turn to younger players like Willie Young.

I like this move because it allows the franchise to see what they really have in Avril, who I believe still has something to prove if he wants to be paid as much as the best defensive ends in the league.  For a relatively low risk, the Lions can give Avril another year while not putting up big bucks on a long term deal.

The problem is that it makes an already tight salary cap situation a little bit tighter.

Nate Burleson, Matthew Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh have all agreed to restructure their contracts this year to help open up cap space for Detroit.  These three new contracts will free up just about $10 million, the same number Avril will be paid this year under the franchise tag.

Calvin Johnson is also working on a restructure, although details have not been released and the deal hasn’t been finalized.

The Lions would like to continue restructuring as many deals as possible so they can resign linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who remains unsigned.  Free agency officially begins March 13th at 4pm ET, so look for the Lions to push the envelope and attempt to resign Tulloch as soon as possible.

The Lions’ offseason still has many question marks, but one thing is certain: Cliff Avril will suit up in Honolulu blue again in 2012.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Report: Smith child abuse investigation 'sexual in nature'

DeGale: ‘At the end of the day I’m better’ than Dirrell

Belichick suspected Tom Brady wasn't being honest with him

Johnny Manziel to be a full participant in OTAs

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

NFL suspends Bills Marcell Dareus for violating substance abuse policy

Astros surprising, but can get better with prospects like Correa

JR Smith prefers taking contested shots to open shots

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.