Chris McCosky of the Detroit News caught up to Avril at a fanfest and asked him about the reports that he may holdout if he tagged by the Lions.
“The thing is, I wanted a deal last year,” Avril said. “They told me I had to play and prove myself. I feel like now I should be compensated. I’ve been putting in the work. I’ve been trying to improve every year. I have done what they wanted me to do.”
Chris McCosky tweets that Lions DE Cliff Avril said that he will “probably” hold out if given the team’s franchise tag in the coming weeks. Avril is willing to miss the team’s training camp as an attempt to leverage his situation into a long-term contract.
Detroit is going to have some tough decisions ahead of them but Avril is certainly not making things easy on them.
This seems like a very likely scenario considering Avril’s contract demands. Detroit will still have to work to free up some money but it probably makes the most sense for them as long they’re able to address some needs without losing players like Stephen Tulloch and Jeff Backus.
Lions DE Cliff Avril joined SiriusXM NFL Radio to discuss his plans for the offseason. Detroit has said that Avril is their top priority but from his recent comments, the Lions can expect to pay him one of the leagues top salaries if they’re serious about retaining past the 2012 season.
“There’s no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL,” Avril said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Once you can’t play anymore, they’re going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can.”
Avril knows that he’ll have plenty of options available to him on the open market and even mentioned that he’s been contacted by other teams despite the fact that that would qualify as tampering.
“I kind of think the Lions will try to do the right thing, I guess,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t think the Lions will let me hit free agency. But a few teams have called.”
This should come as no shock considering that Avril has maintained this stance for the last month and half. Detroit will already need to find some extra cap space and we already mentioned that re-signing WR Calvin Johnson will create another set of issues in itself.
“I just want to be paid as one of the guys that’s helping the team grow,” Avril said. “I want to be there. We have a young D-line. But I know it’s a business, and you only hit free agency once or twice in your career, so you definitely have to take advantage of it.”
We have Avril listed as the #10 best available free agent in our Top 50 Free Agentslist.