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Martin Mayhew: Lions will keep Cliff Avril if we like him

Martin Mayhew isn't stressing about Cliff Avril. The Detroit Lions general manager is confident Avril's impending free agency will be worked out - one way or another.

"All those guys that are free agents, we'll continue to have discussions about," Mayhew told MLive.com's Anwar Richardson. "I've talked to a few of their agents. We have ample time to sort through those situations. If you go back and look through our history here, we haven't had a lot of free agents that we really wanted to have back that we didn't get back."

So, what's he saying about Avril? The defensive end held out for a long-term deal last offseason and reportedly turned down a three-year, $30 million offer. He eventually was hit with the franchise tag worth $10.6 million. Avril was coming off a career-year with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. Like the entire team, he regressed in 2012 with 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

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The Lions cut defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch this week and are suddenly short on ends. Willie Young and Ronnell Lewis are the only two under contract. The organization wanted to see if Avril could consistently sustain his 2011 level of play and that didn't happen in 2012.

The Lions cleared cap space this week, so it's possible that was done with Avril in mind. But the two parties were far apart last year and Avril didn't exactly put on a show this season. I'm not sure they're any closer now. Avril will likely get the chance to test the market.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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