If the collective bargaining agreement wasn't set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril and other players that finished their contract last season would become free agents. Avril specifically would become a restricted free agent since he has only been in the league three years.
Since it seems there's no chance of a new CBA being worked out in the coming days, free agency won't get underway for probably quite a while. Even so, the Lions took care of some business today by tendering a contract offer to Avril. The offer is at a first- and third-round level, the highest such level for a restricted free agent.
What this essentially means is that if another team signed Avril to an offer sheet and the Lions declined to match the offer, they would receive a first- and third-round pick as compensation. Because Avril is a restricted free agent, the Lions could match any offer sheet he signs, but it's not expected that that will happen. The Lions want Avril back, and it's unlikely a team would be willing to part with both a first- and third-round pick to sign him.
In his first three seasons in the league, Avril had a total of 19 sacks. He recorded 8.5 sacks last season despite only playing in 13 games.