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Thursday, August 4, 2011
Cliff Avril re-joins Lions

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Many of you have been asking about the status of Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, who as of Wednesday hadn't signed his restricted free agent tender. That formality appears to have been taken care of, and Avril will be eligible to practice whenever the NFL's collective bargaining agreement is formally ratified.

There was no rush for Avril to sign because he wouldn't have been eligible to practice any sooner. Any team that wanted to sign him to an offer sheet would have been required to send the Lions a first-round draft pick to secure his services.

Avril tweeted Thursday that "I'm back at it... Feels good to be back in the lockerroom..."

I'll be interested to see how aggressively the Lions pursue a long-term contract with Avril, who has 19 sacks in his three seasons. Pass rushing is a valued commodity in the NFL, and we've seen this offseason what teams are willing to do for it.

The Carolina Panthers gave defensive end Charles Johnson, who has 21.5 sacks in four seasons, a six-year contract worth $72 million. It included $30 million in guarantees.

Avril would at least seem in line to receive what the Atlanta Falcons gave defensive end Ray Edwards: A five-year deal worth $30 million, including $11 million in guarantees.