Sunday, February 19, 2012
Updated: February 20, 4:56 PM ET
Cliff Avril may hold out if tagged
ESPN.com news services
Defensive end Cliff Avril said he will contemplate holding out from the Detroit Lions' offseason program and training camp if the team uses its franchise tag on him rather than negotiate a long-term deal.
"There's a lot of different possibilities, and that's one of the possibilities -- not showing up," Avril told the Detroit Free Press on Saturday. "But we don't know. That's not the plan, obviously. But there's a lot of different possibilities, and that's definitely one of them."
The Lions can use the franchise tag on Avril to keep him off the market with a one-year deal for the average of the five highest-paid defensive ends as soon as Monday or as late as March 5.
"I don't want to be franchised," Avril told the newspaper. "That's basically what I got last year. The (restricted free-agent) tender was basically the same thing. I just want security and longevity."
General manager Martin Mayhew has said publicly he doesn't plan to use the franchise tag but the Free Press reported Friday, citing unnamed sources, that the Lions are likely to apply their franchise tender to Avril if they can't agree to a long-term deal.
Avril recorded a career-high 11 sacks in his fourth year with the Lions. He also forced six fumbles.
The Lions have said they want to keep Avril for the long haul, but his agent doesn't sound encouraged by how negotiations have gone so far.
"Talks are going very slowly," Brian Mackler, Avril's agent, said Friday, refusing to get into details.
Avril was drafted in the third round out of Purdue in 2008. His rookie season was forgettable. He started four games but Detroit went 0-16. Since then, he's made steady progress while remaining somewhat under the radar.
The 25-year-old defensive end has 30 sacks in 57 career games.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.