Lions Know They Couldn’t Afford To Lose Avril

Defensive end Cliff Avril will be a Lion next season, the non-exclusive franchise tag worth about $10.6 million virtually guarantees that, but it doesn’t solve any of general manager Martin Mayhew’s other short- or long-term problems.

Unless he can negotiate a long-term extension with receiver Calvin Johnson, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, or find some salary-cap relief in other areas, he’s going to have a hard time re-signing other key free agents like middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch.

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