It appears the Detroit Lions and defensive end Cliff Avril were unable to agree on a long-term contract. The two sides had negotiated throughout Sunday in hopes of getting a deal done before the Lions had to resort to using the franchise tag, but that did not end up happening. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the tag has been placed on Avril by the Lions. (This is the first time they have used the tag since it was placed on Cory Redding in 2007.)
Lions used their franchise tag on Cliff Avril.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 5, 2012
This means that unless a team likes Avril so much that they are willing to give up two first-round picks to sign him, he will be back with the Lions next season. The big question now is if the two sides will be able to work something out long-term now that the tag is in place. Avril has pondered the idea of holding out if he is franchised, and now that is certainly a real possibility.
My best guess as to what happens next is that negotiations will continue and something of the long-term variety will be worked out eventually. I have no idea when, but it could take until June. The key thing for now is that it's highly unlikely Avril will be playing somewhere other than Detroit in 2012.