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Lions, Avril on same page regarding franchise tag

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Posted Feb. 25, 2012 @ 2:14 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Lions and DE Cliff Avril have something in common: Neither likes the idea of the franchise tag. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said the club wants to sign Avril to a multiyear contract and to avoid giving him the franchise tag. "I think it's the best thing for him and the best thing for us," Mayhew told reporters. The franchise tender, if signed by Avril, likely would mean a higher salary-cap number for the star defensive end in 2012 than the Lions would like, and it probably also would represent less money than Avril, among the top pass rushers slated to become free agents, would garner in a longer-term deal. However, the tag, while "not a good option for us," as Mayhew noted, would be the lesser of two evils, the Lions' GM said. "The only worse option is playing without him. We don't want to play without him."

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