According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Detroit Lions and defensive end Cliff Avril seem to be stuck in neutral when it comes to trying to get a long-term deal done.
“The Lions too have spent a lot of money recently, and have had some cap issues to navigate this offseason,” wrote La Canfora. ”Talks with Avril haven’t been fruitful and a divide remains between the sides. Given all the Lions are already investing in their defensive line and what kind of money Avril, yet to sign his tag, stands to make — Calais Campbell, who will earn $17 million in 2012 as part of his new deal, is one legitimate comparable in this instance — it may end up that this gets tabled for the future.”
“There will be communication and a renewed vigor in talks, I’m sure, but bridging this gap might not be easy, and it won’t be cheap. Avril was playing excellent football when Ndamukong Suh wasn’t on the field, so the argument that the other talented pieces in that front four make him doesn’t hold up. He’s been improving rapidly for years now, and at his age, if able to hit the open market, he would be coveted. Giving up that kind of leverage will take some convincing.”
I think Avril will end up having to play the 2012 season under the franchise tag. I don’t expect him to miss any regular season games at this point.
There’s a good chance that in the end, the Lions won’t be able to afford Avril and he’ll become a free agent next March.