Today was the deadline for franchise players to sign long term deals with their teams. Among the players left unsigned was the Lions’ Cliff Avril. Hours after the deadline, it was reported that Avril rejected a 3 year, 30 million dollar deal, with 20 million guaranteed from the Lions and that that was their final offer.
Obviously, a 3 year deal is less than ideal, but 20 million guaranteed is a pretty good chunk of change and Avril is only 26 so this would have set him up for another big pay day in 2015, at age 29, should he continue to produce. Avril is a very good pass rusher, with 12 sacks, 9 quarterback hits, and 41 quarterback pressures last year (including playoffs). That’s good for a sack/pressure/hit on 11.5% of all pass rush snaps.
However, he struggles against the run, part of the Lions’ concern with him. Avril was likely seeking Charles Johnson money (6 years, 76 million, 32 million guaranteed) and the Lions were having no part of that. A free agent again next offseason, Avril could easily not be back with the team in 2013 and told NFL.com’s Albert Breer today that he would “probably” skip the start of Training Camp. He’ll make 10.6 million this year so he has a lot of reasons to sign his tender and get into camp.