Cliff Avril doesn't want to play tag with Lions

Cliff Avril wants to be back in Motown next season.

But he doesn’t want to be there playing under the franchise tag.

The defensive end for the Detroit Lions is, like most players in his situation, opposed to the one-year tender even though it is expected to be worth a little more than $10 million this coming season.

I definitely don’t want to be franchised,” Avril said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, I’ve been in Detroit for four years, and I wouldn’t mind being there for another couple more years or whatnot. The franchise tag kind of makes it a yearly thing, and you want security. You want to know you’re going to be there for a couple years so your family can get comfortable.”

If the Lions do not place the tag on Avril before the March 5 deadline, he will be an unrestricted free agent starting March 13. That’s if the club isn’t able to work out a long-term extension. He’d be one of the top players on the open market with a premium on pass rushers.

As Birkett points out, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has not used the franchise tag in three years. But that doesn’t mean he’ll keep it in his pocket this time around.

“They quote-unquote don’t want to use it anyway, so we’ll see,” said Avril, who had 11 sacks last season. “Kind of getting positive vibes as far as for me being there again next year. Hopefully, we can meet in the middle and make it happen, because I’d definitely love to be there.”

It would be interesting to learn what Avril’s idea of the middle is right now. We’ve got a feeling that is a high number. He might just get it, though.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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