The Lions have placed the franchise tag on DE Cliff Avril, keeping one of the league's top young pass rushers off the free-agent market. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news on Monday.
Avril, set to enter his fifth NFL season, is coming off a career year. In 2011, he registered a team-high 11 sacks to go along with six forced fumbles, helping Detroit reach the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
During the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said, "It's not really a good option for us to franchise Cliff. That's not appealing to me. It's not appealing to Cliff. But the worst option is to play without Cliff."
The franchise tag value for defensive ends is approximately $10.6 million. Avril is the second player at the position to get the tag, following the Cardinals' Calais Campbell.