Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril is one of the most desirable pass rushers on the market. When free agency comes on March 12th he could be on his way out of Detroit if a deal isn’t done. He is a young player, 26, who has compiled 29 sacks in the last 3 seasons.
While some might be turned off about his comments about wanting “Mario Williams” type money, he says that was just a misunderstanding.
“I didn’t say I wanted Mario Williams money, I’m like, ‘Who wouldn’t want his money?’ ” Avril said. “The guy asked me, ‘Mario made this amount of money, is that something [you'd want]?’ I’m like, ‘Shoot, wouldn’t you want it? Who wouldn’t want that deal?’ But people take it further than that.”
So here it is, Cliff Avril’s Top 5 Potential NFL Suitors:
5. New York Giants
The Giants are known for getting after the quarterback. They draft heavily which makes me think they’d pursue a pass rusher in the draft, but a free agent answer to play opposite Jason Pierre-Paul could be Avril. I know you’re thinking what about Justin Tuck, he’s old and declining and inconsistent. Avril is 26 and just entering his prime and could be a force over the next few years.
4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have a defense emerging, and a young star like Avril could take them to another level. The have a serviceable defensive ends in Bruce Irvin, who compiled 8 sacks but struggles against the run. Imagine if they had a 10 sack a season monster opposite him. Not to mention with quarterbacks running for their life Richard Sherman would have a field day.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No team in the NFL gave up more yards in the air per game than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Opponents averaged 297.4 yards through the air. Quarterbacks completed 65% of their passes against the Bucs, and that’s not surprising considering they had the third worst sack total, 27, in the NFL. Quarterbacks have a field day against Tampa Bay and they need to make them uncomfortable, Cliff Avril and his 10 sacks a season could help a desperate need.
2. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions want to keep Avril, the franchise tag was just too much and hopefully they can get him cheaper than that via a long term deal. He’d like to stay with Detroit, players there believe something is special happening and they can be a part of it. Not to mention when Ndamukong Suh is in the middle of the defensive line, that frees you up on the end. However they play in a tough division and success might be found in a weaker division.
1. Atlanta Falcons
You know when the Falcons sent John Abraham packing that they were hoping they’d find another quality pass rusher on the free agency market. While Dwight Freeney looked like an early option, they would clearly prefer Cliff Avril. He’s only 26, a 5 year vet and a sack machine. Avril would most likely be attracted to coming to Atlanta, who wouldn’t be, a team that lost in the NFC Championship game and has Super Bowl potential.