The Detroit Lions had previously made it known that they were not going to use the franchise tag this offseason, but that became even more clear when the tag actually became available for use on Monday. As noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, it seems that the Lions are sticking to their guns and will not tag any of their pending free agents.
Detroit has 23 pending unrestricted free agents, though many of them were never considered a candidate for the tag. One player who drew considerable interest from fans regarding the possible usage of the tag is defensive end Cliff Avril.
Avril had 9.5 sacks in 2012-13 and the Lions have reportedly been trying to get him under a long-term deal for a while now. It's unclear if the team is any closer to getting Avril signed to a long-term deal, but they definitely don't want to use the franchise tag on him.
That's due to the fact that they already used the tag on Avril last season. Using it for a consecutive year would give Avril a pay raise of 120 percent of his 2011 salary, which would come out to a one-year, $12.7 million deal for the 2013 season.
It's not that Avril isn't worth that number. On the contrary, he's rated highly as one of the top potential free agents this offseason, as noted by SB Nation's Pride of Detroit.
The other tag candidate was safety Louis Delmas. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Delmas plays at a generally high level, he has missed more than 10 games over the past two seasons due to injury and the Lions won't feel comfortable paying him more than $8 million for a single season under the franchise tag.
Long term deals for both players seem to be a goal for the Lions, but their window of exclusive negotiating for both players is closing.