The Detroit Lions have been trying to get a deal done with defensive lineman Cliff Avril for weeks with no success, and ESPN's Adam Schefter reported early on Monday that they've taken the next step by slapping the franchise tag on Avril to keep him around until a contract can be decided upon. Avril will count about $10.6 million against the salary cap with the tag.
This is the first time that the Lions have franchise tagged a player since 2007, when defensive tackle Cory Redding received it. Avril already said before that he did not like the idea of being franchise tagged but with no contract coming before the franchise tag deadline hit, there wasn't much that he could do to prevent it, as the Lions wanted to keep their sack specialist around.
Avril had 11 sacks as part of the monstrous Detroit D-line last season.
Re-signing Avril was arguably the most important move for the Lions in free agency, so they can now turn their minds to other projects, as they have a bit more peace of mind with Avril essentially being forced to stick around at least a little while longer.