CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 13: Cliff Avril #92 of the Detroit Lions looks on in pre game prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Way back in March when the Detroit Lions placed the franchise tag on Cliff Avril, the main reason for doing so was to buy more time in negotiations on a long-term deal. The Lions also wanted to retain the right to match any offer Avril received, but the hope at the time was for the franchise tag to allow for a long-term deal to be agreed to before the July 16 deadline.
We are now one week away from the deadline and the Lions and Avril still don't have a long-term deal in place. Negotiations are ongoing, but it doesn't exactly seem like there has been a lot of progress on something of the long-term variety. A fairly large gap in money is believed to still exist, and the Lions and Avril spent June putting the ball in the other party's court.
The hope is that with the deadline approaching, there will be more of a sense of urgency in the negotiations. If the Lions want to sign Avril to a long-term deal and not have to do this again next year, it's necessary to figure something out by next Monday afternoon. For Avril, the same is true if he wants the security of a long-term deal.
It's entirely possible the deadline won't do anything and Avril will be forced to play on his one-year franchise tender, but now is the time for negotiations to progress if the two sides are ever going to move closer to agreeing on something.