Lions keep DE Avril from free agency with non-exclusive tag

The Detroit Lions confirmed Monday that they have placed their non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, announcing the move on their official website.

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NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora first reported the development earlier Monday.

Avril has made it clear he didn't want the tag used on him, telling the Detroit Free Press as much in February. Avril went so far as to hint that he might consider holding out if he were franchised.

"There's a lot of different possibilities, and that's one of the possibilities -- not showing up," Avril said at the time. "But we don't know. That's not the plan, obviously. But there's a lot of different possibilities, and that's definitely one of them."

Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew has said he didn't plan to use the franchise tag, though a team source had told La Canfora last month that the Lions would be willing to apply it to keep Avril from hitting free agency.

Because the tag is non-exclusive, it is possible for Avril to sign with another team, but the Lions can match the offer or receive two first-round picks in return if he signs elsewhere.

Avril will make around $10.6 million next season, the expected franchise-tag value for defensive ends, if he and the team are unable to reach a long-term deal before July 15.

Monday was the last day the team could apply the tag to Avril.

The 25-year-old has 19.5 sacks the past two seasons and 30 in his four-year career. He was a third-round pick out of Purdue in the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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