If everything goes according to plan, the new collective bargaining agreement is expected to officially be ratified by Thursday. If this does indeed happen, the new league year will finally officially begin and former free agents that are now under contract will be allowed to practice for the first time all training camp.
One free agent for the Lions who is still not under contract is defensive end Cliff Avril. He is a restricted free agent with a one-year tender currently sitting on the table. Last week Avril said he wasn't sure if he would sign the tender, but it sounded like that was mainly because he couldn't practice until Thursday even if he did.
With Thursday nearing, the hope is that Avril will sign his tendered offer and be ready to practice tomorrow if the new CBA is ratified. Nothing is guaranteed, but team president Tom Lewand expects Avril to sign.
"I would expect Cliff will be in to sign his tender at some time before (Thursday),'' Lewand said.
Once Avril does sign, he will at least be under contract for next season and will be able to practice. The Lions will still want to get a long-term deal worked out, but they won't have to rush the negotiations if Avril's tender is signed.