As soon as the Detroit Lions made sure all of their coaching staff would be returning for the upcoming season, they turned their focus to making long-term deals work with pending free agents. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson got what he was looking for, and there was a lot of optimism surrounding defensive end Cliff Avril, whom the Lions designated as their franchise player for the upcoming season.
That being said, the deadline to get a deal done was inching closer and closer. Now, there's less than two hours to get a deal done before the deadline hits, and it's looking like it's not going to get done, according to Albert Breer on Twitter:
Negotiations between the Lions and @cliffavril have broken off, and it's now a near-certainty a long-term deal will not be reached by 4 p.m.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 16, 2012
If no deal is reached by 4 p.m., then Avril will essentially have to play under his franchise tag and the Lions will have to wait until the end of the season to work on getting him signed to an extension. The team also could use the franchise tag on him again next season, but that would mean he gets a $2 million raise on top of the already high-priced tag.