The Detroit Lions rode their terrific defense to a playoff spot in 2011, but the team is in danger of losing one of their key components to free agency before next season kicks off.
According to James Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press, defensive end Cliff Avril appears to be eager to test the waters of free agency. Avril appeared on Sirius XM on Thursday and appears to be aware that he is considered one of the top men at his position who is slated to become a free agent this offseason.
I just want to be paid as one of the guys that's helping the team grow. I want to be there. We have a young D-line. But I know it's a business, and you only hit free agency once or twice in your career, so you definitely have to take advantage of it.
There's no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL. Once you can't play anymore, they're going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can.
Although Avril is being pragmatic regarding both his and the team's situation, he did comment that if it were a tiebreak situation, he would give the nod to Detroit.
That said, if they and another team present the same thing, I'd definitely stay with the Lions.
Lions fans will certainly be hoping that the team will be able to entice Avril to stay, but there is a very real chance that a team in need of a defensive boost has more cap room and more to offer during the offseason.
For more on the Lions offseason, head over to the SB Nation blog Pride Of Detroit.