Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News writes that the Detroit Lions top priority this offseason should be to come to an agreement with DE Cliff Avril as he’s set to hit the free agent market.
Avril was a restricted free agent last season and the Lions chose to not negotiate a new deal but Avril doesn’t sound like he’s willing to make things easy on the Lions.
“I wouldn’t say it’s out of my control, but it’s up to them if they want me here,” said Avril on Monday, per Wojnowski. “Can it get messy? I think so. I definitely want to be here, but I’m not gonna get low-balled either. I got a family and a lot of people that depend on me. There’s no point in getting this opportunity and not being able to take advantage of it.“
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz sees Avril as an important part of the teams defensive success.
“It’s one thing to have double-digit sacks, but Cliff had a little bit more of an impact than just that because of the forced fumbles,” Schwartz said. “That goes hand-in-hand with getting sacks a lot of times, but Cliff has a knack for it. That gave us a big push. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to defensively, but we got a lot of turnovers and Cliff was a big part of that. Cliff was also a guy who was drafted before I got here, but we’ve developed him, he’s developed with us, he’s become a better player every year. He’s added to his arsenal every year and he’s been a hard worker. I think all those things we recognize.”
While Detroit may recognize Avril’s ability it’s going to be hard to allocate more money to their defensive line especially when there will be a number teams lining up for Avril this offseason. We have Avril listed as the #13 best available free agent in our Top 50 Free Agents list.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports that Detroit Lions OT Jeff Backus underwent surgery on Monday to repaid a torn bicep that he suffered during Saturday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.
McCosky’s mentions that Backus, 34, intends to continue playing despite the injury but he’ll be a free agent in just a matter of weeks.
Detroit has no successor in place so they’ll most likely considering bringing him back if the price is right but you can expect them to take a look at some of the options in this years draft. The problem for them is that they have other pressing needs to go along with offensive tackle, more specifically their secondary. At this point the Lions will not have a shot at one of the top three prospects in this years draft so the better value could be at either cornerback or safety by the time that they’re on the clock.
This years offensive tackle market is pretty thin so I’d expect them to reach out to Backus and possibly grab someone later in the draft.