We're Black and Blue All Over:
On Thursday, we outlined the options the Detroit Lions have in for retaining free agent defensive end Cliff Avril, who is heading toward a payday after a career-high 11 sacks in 2011. One possibility we didn't discuss was Avril taking a discount to remain with the team that fostered his success, and there was a good reason for that: Players rarely agree to one.
Avril confirmed just that in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, saying in essence that he wants to return to the Lions but that business is business. Avril, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "There's no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL. Once you can't play anymore, they're going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can. That said, if they and another team present the same thing, I'd definitely stay with the Lions."
It's true that players sometimes turn down a slightly higher offer from a team they don't want to play for. But usually the difference is a small percentage of the total package. In a few years, when it comes time for the Lions or whatever team Avril signs with to end his career, that team won't think twice about cutting him. Business is business.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Receiver Randy Moss would not fit in with the Lions, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
The Chicago-based Indoor Football League team that has offered Moss a contract is coached by former Bears defensive lineman Steve McMichael. Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune has more.
Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey on free agency, via Brad Biggs of the Tribune: "The bottom line, and Phil [Emery] knows this, if there is someone we want -- and it makes sense -- money is not going to be an issue."
I didn't think this was even a question, but it garnered headlines nonetheless: Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman acknowledged the team doesn't have an interest in bringing back Moss for a third tour of duty. More from the Associated Press.
The Vikings aren't expected to raise ticket prices this season, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
The Star Tribune: "A deal to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium next to the Metrodome neared completion Thursday, as stadium planners worked late to put the finishing touches on an agreement among the state, the team and Minneapolis."
The Vikings haven't changed their outlook on the future of cornerback Chris Cook, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Oakland Raiders have signed former Green Bay Packers defensive back Brandon Underwood, notes my AFC West colleague Bill Williamson.
Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports explains how renowned reporter Anthony Shadid came to be an obsessive Packers fan. Shadid died on assignment in Syria, apparently because of an asthma attack.