Avril: "I’m kind of disappointed it couldn’t happen, but it is what it is."

Posted Jul 16, 2012

The 4 p.m. deadline has come and gone and no agreement could be reached Monday between the Lions and defensive end Cliff Avril on a new long-term contract.

“After extensive discussions with Cliff and his representative, we were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract by today’s 4 p.m. deadline,” read a statement from Lions president Tom Lewand. “While we are disappointed that we could not execute a long-term deal, we do look forward to having Cliff with us this season under the terms of the franchise tag.”

Avril is now required to play this season under the terms of his $10.6 million franchise tender or sit out the season.

The latter is highly unlikely, though. Avril isn’t likely to let $10.6 million sit on the table -- which is equivalent to about two and a half times of what he’s earned his entire career -- although he could opt to sit out some or all of training camp.

“It is what it is,” Avril told after talks with the teams concluded without a deal. “Business is business. You can’t get mad at that. It’s not personal. I’m kind of disappointed it couldn’t happen but it is what it is.”

Avril will now play this season under a one-year deal and will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Lions can’t negotiate with Avril on a new deal until after the season. The team does have the option to use the franchise tag a second time on Avril next season, though he’d be due a 20-percent raise and a likely one-year tender of around $12.7 million.

“My goal is to just continue to get better,” Avril said. “If I would have gotten a deal it wouldn’t have made a difference as far as my performance and how I prepare. I’ve been putting in work these last few months and I’m going to continue putting in work.”

Money has been the biggest issue between getting a long-term deal struck and it could be a hurdle next offseason, too.

The Lions have a number of key players headed for the free agent market next offseason, including starters Louis Delmas, Justin Durant, Corey Williams, DeAndre Levy, Chris Houston, Gosder Cherilus and now Avril. Key reserve defensive end Lawrence Jackson will also be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Avril has 30 sacks in four seasons with the Lions and is coming off of a career year with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Avril has not participated in the team's OTAs and mini-camp this offseason without a new contract. Veterans report to training camp July 26 and Avril said he wasn’t sure what his next step would be.

“I probably won’t be there the first day,” he said. “We’ll just go from there. I just have to sit down and see what we think is right and we’ll go from there.”