A year ago, the Detroit Lions put the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril when the two sides were unable to work out a long-term deal. At the time, the Lions were hoping to eventually get Avril a new deal, but it seems their mindset changed during the season. When free agency arrived this year, there was no real sense of urgency to get Avril a new deal, and it turns out he didn't even receive an offer from the Lions to return. From the Free Press:
"I just didn't get that vibe," he said. "Like I said, there wasn't really an offer, there wasn't much communication. I kind of took the hint. I thought it was a hint. We just couldn't make anything happen."
Avril ended up signing with the Seattle Seahawks on a two-year deal worth $13 million (not $15 million, as originally reported). This is a significant step down from the three-year offer worth $30 million from the Lions last year that he turned down, but he says he doesn't have any regrets over what happened.
I'm sure the Lions also don't have any regrets over what happened given that they didn't make much of an effort to re-sign Avril this year. General manager Martin Mayhew felt that it would have cost the Lions two players to bring Avril back this year, and clearly they wanted to use their resources elsewhere.
What's really interesting is that when Avril did officially depart, he only heard from one person in the Lions organization. From CBS Sports:
"I will always cherish my time in Detroit," Avril said. "There are great fans in Detroit. I respect the Lions. My d-line coach (Kris Kocurek) reached out to me. He and I have always been cool. He was very nice and complimentary."
Avril explained Kocurek was the only person in Lions management who contacted him. Not head coach Jim Schwartz, or general manager Martin Mayhew, or defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. "No Schwartz, no Gunn, no Mayhew," Avril explained.
"None of those guys. Kind of surprising. It is what it is."
According to the story, Avril wasn't complaining, but it definitely doesn't sound like there was much love between him and the Lions when he did depart. I suppose that's the nature of the business when a team and player both make it known that it's time to move on.