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michael89156

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: January 16, 2013, 12:04:47 AM




2013 NFL free agents: Cliff Avril's down year likely won't scare off buyers




By Adam Stites on Jan 15, 11:06a







Gregory Shamus



Despite a drop in sack numbers and forced fumbles during a contract year, the 26-year old pass rusher will likely be a top free agent prospect in the 2013 offseason.



With the pressures of a contract year on him and the possibilities of a big deal in his future, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril had a relatively disappointing year in 2012. Sure, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles is still a strong year by most standards, but it still wasn't quite the same as the 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2011 that made Avril one of the most coveted free agents.
 
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew used the franchise tag on Avril in the 2012 offseason to ensure that he remained with the Lions for at least one more year, and while he told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that he doesn't intend to use the tag on Avril again this offseason, he did explain the drops in numbers for the defensive end.
 

"We didn't play with a lot of leads," Mayhew said. "We played with some leads last year, so we had some opportunities really to tee off and get our pass rush going, where everybody can just cut loose and just go. We didn't have as many of those. That may have been a reason for some of the decline in sacks and quarterback fumbles."
 


With the franchise tag ruled out for Avril, the Lions will have until March 12 to negotiate with the defensive end if they hope to keep him around. While it's highly unlikely that he gets a contract with the astronomical numbers that Mario Williams received during the 2012 season, Avril is only 26 and will be a hot commodity.
 
Birkett noted that Avril was offered a three-year, $30 million contract offer from the Lions in 2012, but turned it down to instead play under the franchise tag. With the threat of the open free agent market looming, Avril would likely cost a similar amount in 2013.
 
While the potential loss of Avril wouldn't be an easy one for the Detroit pass rush, the numbers suggest it wouldn't be a huge absence for the team, though. After finishing 2011 with an 0.3 rating on football analysis site Pro Football Focus, his score plummeted to -11.6 in 2012, second worst on the Lions defense, and hurt most by a -9.9 rating in run defense.
 
That could make Avril an interesting free agency prospect for a 3-4 team that could transition him into an outside linebacker role and could make a defensive end the top priority for the Lions in the 2013 NFL Draft. Owners of the No. 5 overall selection, there are a host of players that could fill Avril's spot, including Florida State's Bjoern Werner, according to Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation.
 
Already fifth in Lions franchise history in sacks with 39.5 in five seasons, Avril's days with the team may be coming to an end, barring a deal negotiated in the next two months. If a deal isn't reached, the young pass rusher will surely make for one of the hotter commodities of 2013 free agency.




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baybuc35

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#1 : January 16, 2013, 12:17:50 AM

I would rather pay big money to Avril than Bennett


CTGuyton

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#2 : January 16, 2013, 12:59:14 AM

Why can't we have them both? Bowers, Claiborne, Bennett, and Avril?  Sounds like a hell of a rotation to me.. Especially since we can't seem to keep more than 2 of them healthy at a time anyway.


The Anti-Java

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#3 : January 16, 2013, 01:00:37 AM

I would rather pay big money to Avril than Bennett





They are both about the same age, and in ProFootballFocus rankings, Bennett is #2.....Avril  #40



PewterG@tor

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#4 : January 16, 2013, 11:41:56 AM

Houston's Connor Barwin is going to be a free agent this year.  I'll bet he can be had for much less than Avril without much dropoff in production.  Even though he's a 3-4 LB, he was a DE in college and would fit nicely with our d-line rotation.  Another name that popped up on the radar is Rey Maualuga.  Bengals may not re-sign him and he could take over for Quincy Black.  Probably could be had reasonably cheap as well. 

chace1986

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#5 : January 16, 2013, 12:06:00 PM

I would rather pay big money to Avril than Bennett

If it came down to having either/or, I'm paying a little more for Avril as well.


Booker Reese

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#6 : January 16, 2013, 01:29:51 PM

No thanks, pay Bennett.

Feel Real Good

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#7 : January 16, 2013, 01:44:22 PM

I'm not saying I want Avril, but I think it's kind of unfair to ding him for basically putting up the same sack numbers but not forcing as many fumbles because forced fumbles are more dependent on the player holding the ball than the player hitting him. Avril could be hitting guys exactly like he hit them in 2011 but if they just do a better job holding onto the ball they don't fumble.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

Buc on the Move

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#8 : January 16, 2013, 01:45:31 PM

I'd rather have Bennett for his run-stuffing as well.  I expect his sack numbers to stay the same or get a little better next year with better coverage schemes and talent at CB, and I liked the leadership he showed this year.  I felt he played with the most fire of anyone on our line.

The Anti-Java

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#9 : January 16, 2013, 02:38:53 PM

I think Bennett is the better option.



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#10 : January 16, 2013, 10:15:44 PM

Bennett's numbers will go up with Claiborne's health and better secondary play

Boid Fink

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#11 : January 16, 2013, 10:28:01 PM

Bennett and Avril is solid rotation, with Avril being the obvious choice for duty on third and 8, or second and 20.

But Bennett is a better overall defender. Pay Bennett, inquire with Avril's agent.

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