According to Detroit Lions GM Martin Mayhew the Lions will not be using their franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril or any other player that will become an unrestricted free agent in the coming months, per Dave Birkett.
“I would love to be here, but I know how this thing shakes out. I know how this works,” Avril said. “This is basically my third off-season going into this (free agency), so I just take (it) in stride. We’ll see how it goes come March.”
Last year, the Lions used their franchise tag on Avril, but would have to be willing to pay him an extra 20 percent on top of this year’s franchise total. Detroit offered Avril a three-year deal worth $30-million last year, but he ultimately declined the offer.
Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 55 best 4-3 defensive end out of 62 players that qualified. Avril, 26, finished the 2012 season with 9.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
We have him listed as the No.26 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.