The time the Detroit Lions have to negotiate with Cliff Avril “for free” is quickly coming to an end. March 5 marks the deadline for applying the franchise tag and as of late Sunday night the two sides were negotiating but had not yet reached a deal.
The Lions have been in talks w/Cliff Avril’s agent about a new deal most of the day. Still talking, so might be able to get something done
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 5, 2012
The Lions may be forced to apply the franchise tag on Avril. Doing so would guarantee his return at about $10.6 million on a one-year deal (until a long-term deal is agreed upon) and would keep him from becoming a free agent on March 13.
Even if the Lions are able to come to an agreement with Avril without having to use the franchise tag it is unlikely they will turn around and use it on another player. Stephen Tulloch would be the next most likely candidate but the financial aspects don’t work out as well as they would in the Avril situation.