ESPN's Adam Schefter dropped quite the rumor while stopping by Mike & Mike in the Morning on Tuesday. According to Schefter, the Detroit Lions had given thought to pursuing free agent defensive end Mario Williams before the decision was made to give the franchise tag to defensive end Cliff Avril. Via MLive, here's what Schefter said:
"I know the Lions organization was talking about making a real run at Mario Williams," Schefter said on Mike & Mike Tuesday morning. "A lot of people are saying, 'Woah, the Lions? They don't have a lot of cap space.' This was pre-franchise tagging Cliff Avril, which they did. That takes them out of the Mario Williams market, but there was a lot of thought given in that organization to going after Mario Williams."
The general consensus is that Williams is the top defensive free agent out there this offseason. Considering that, the expectation is for him to get a very nice contract from whichever teams ends up signing him. I really don't understand how the Lions could've afforded Williams given how little cap space they have.
One thing I do know is that it certainly would have been interesting to watch this all play out if the Lions had decided to let Avril become a free agent and instead went after Williams. It really would have taken some interesting maneuvering with the salary cap to be in a position to even think about signing him.