The Detroit Lions look poised to allow defensive end Cliff Avril to establish his value on the open market.
That makes it a gamble whether or not the team will be able to retain the pass rusher.
But it’s one Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports the team appears comfortable making after securing Avril with the franchise tag last season. Avril played for the $10.6 million tag in 2012 after turning down a reported $30 million, three-year offer. The Lions elected not to place the tag on him again.
According to McCosky, there isn’t an ongoing negotiation for the services of Avril. The player bet on himself when he turned down the multi-year offer and had 9 ½ sacks this past season with two forced fumbles. He had 11 sacks and six forced fumbles the year before when the club placed the tag on him to ensure he couldn’t escape in free agency.
The Lions need to keep Avril because if they lose him they are going to have a serious need. They actually have one already after letting Kyle Vanden Bosch go. There could be options with their first-round pick at No. 5 overall but if they keep Avril, they could choose a badly needed cornerback in that spot.
We’ll see what direction this heads. Avril wants a big pay day and that might ultimately come from the Lions. But probably not before he explores what else might be out there.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune