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Cliff Avril’s Versatility Might Make Him a Free Agency Priority for Detroit Lions

February 11th, 2013 at 11:05 AM
By Max DeMara

The price for the Detroit Lions to keep their free agent to be defensive end Cliff Avril could have just gone up significantly.

This, of course, is given Avril's recently documented ability to switch sides, occupying the left defensive end spot recently vacated by the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch. As also written in Carlos Monarrez's piece, if Avril was to switch, he'd be able to attack the quarterback's blind side with perhaps devastating effects. In 2011, Avril did this against Tim Tebow, which led to two sacks, two forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown. It was a brief but excitable showing of potential.

Perhaps knowing this, the Lions will be more motivated to resign Avril. However, this is a two way street. Other teams might see this as well, and offer Avril the opportunity to switch positions back and forth. Would the Lions have leverage in such contract discussions? Would money become a bigger issue due to Avril's mobility? Nobody can say that with certainty until the market develops.

One thing people can say, though, is that Avril has suddenly become much more valuable to the Lions given Vanden Bosch's departure. The Lions might not want to spend tons of money to keep Avril, but when faced with the situation of entering 2013 with a rookie defensive end or cheaper free agent on both sides (like depth player Lawrence Jackson), they might decide to pay the versatile man to stick around.

In addition to several other variables (veteran leadership included), the reasoning might be as simple as Avril's ability to move around on defense. To a young team which needs their defense to stay fast and fearsome, having at least one known commodity on the ends could be worth its weight in greenbacks.

As the market develops, we'll find out just how far the Lions are willing to go to keep their home grown, increasingly versatile talent.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Cliff Avril, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Lawrence Jackson, NFL

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