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Lions Know They Couldn’t Afford To Lose Avril

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DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Cliff Avril #92 of the Detroit Lions pumps his arms after a tackle during a NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 16: Cliff Avril #92 of the Detroit Lions pumps his arms after a tackle during a NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

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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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