There has been a lot of public discussion about the status of Cliff Avril's negotiations with the Detroit Lions in the last week. This is mainly because the people involved in the negotiations have recently met with the media, and one of the main topics of discussion has been Avril's contract.
Last week, Lions president Tom Lewand said that as far as negotiations go with Avril, "the ball's in his court." Avril responded later in the week by saying "it's up to Tom." Although he said he wasn't passing the ball back to the Lions, he made it clear that he's not content with only the franchise tender.
On Wednesday, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew commented on the status of the negotiations and declared that "the ball is in everybody's court."
"Our goal is to have a long-term deal done with Cliff Avril," Mayhew said. "That's what our goal is. We've been working toward that the entire time. I don't think the ball is in anybody's court. I think the ball is in everybody's court. We're trying to get a long-term deal done with Cliff."
For negotiations to be successful, this is the best way to approach the situation. Yes, Avril can sign his franchise tender and return to the team any time he wants, but his point of view is that the Lions can offer him a better long-term deal any time they want. For something of the long-term variety to eventually get done, the two sides need to bridge the gap in negotiations that currently exists.