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Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril Are Highest Priorities For Detroit Lions This Offseason

The Detroit Lions weren't able to make waves in the 2012 NFL Playoffs, but they made it to the postseason for the first time in a long time. Naturally, it can only be a good thing for them to retain as many players as possible from this season's team, considering they're now established as winners, and continuity is always required for a strong football team. Some important players are coming up on the end of their contracts pretty soon, and the Lions need to get them locked up.

According to mlive.com, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is going to make wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive end Cliff Avril his top priorities to sign during the offseason. Mayhew said a deal for Johnson doesn't necessarily need to get done this offseason, but it's a great opportunity to get started. His contract is up after next season, so it makes sense to start working on something now.

While many thought the franchise tag might be an option for Avril, Mayhew noted that the team was unlikely to do that. He said that there were no plans to do so, but you never know what might happen. With Avril already saying he wanted to return to the Lions, it's hard to see the two sides getting together on a long term agreement. It will be interesting to see how much he makes, considering the cost of some of the other guys on the line. Avril arguably out-played them all, while Ndamukong Suh is making $9.25 million, Kyle Vanden Bosch is making $5 million and Corey Williams is making slightly less at $4.9 million in 2012.

For more on the Detroit Lions, check out Pride of Detroit. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NFL hub at SBNation.com/NFL.