Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril is set to become a free agent for the second offseason in a row. Unlike last year, he will likely actually get a chance to hit the open market when the 2013 league year begins. The Lions aren't expected to give him the franchise tag again since it would cost them $12.726 million, meaning Avril will be able to test free agency and see what other teams have to offer.
What will Avril be looking for when he fields offers from other teams? The contract will probably be the most important thing, but he also mentioned the scheme and playing surface as two other factors during a Wednesday interview with Sirius NFL Radio. From the Lions' official site:
"I just want to go to a scheme that fits, that allows me to be a pass rusher. Playing on grass would be (great)," he said.
"I definitely wouldn’t mind playing on grass because playing on turf puts your joints in a tough position after so many years."
It's tough to avoid turf in the NFL nowadays, but I suppose being guaranteed eight home games a year on grass would be more favorable than knowing you have at least eight games on turf. That obviously is a negative for the Lions, which play on FieldTurf.
Of course, the playing surface will hardly be the deciding factor in this situation. For the Lions, it'll simply come down to what they can offer Avril in terms of a new contract. I doubt they will be able to match the highest offer Avril receives on the open market, and I think they're well aware of this. That's why they gave him the franchise tag last year, and that's why I think Avril will be with a new team in 2013.