“It certainly is not our desire to franchise Cliff,” Mayhew said while at the NFL Combine, via the Detroit Free Press. “We don’t want to do that, so we’re hopeful we’ll get something long-term done. I think it’s the best thing for him and for us. So that’s not a good option.”
“Franchising him is not a good option for us,” Mayhew continued. “The only worse option is playing without him.”
This has been their stance for the last few weeks but they’re willingness to tag Avril suggests that they’re not going to give in to his contract demands. At this point, it seems as though the tag is their most likely option.