While doing my usually bumping around the net for all things Lions-related I ran into an interesting list by the well-respected Pete Prisco. The senior columnist for CBS Sports put together a list of the top 50 NFL Free Agents.
Of course with me being the Lions slappy I am I wanted to see where our Free Agents ranked and I was hoping they ranked highly just out of pure respect for there talent. These are our guys right? I also wanted to see who would be a nice pickup for the Detroit Lions out of the other Free Agents.
So unsurprisingly, the list starts off with Mario Williams at #1 and descends from there, well you don’t have to wait long to get to the Lions very own Cliff Avril sitting there at number 4!
I must say that as much as the Lions seem to get downplayed in the media I was a little shocked that they had Cliff Avril ranked so highly, now please don’t misunderstand me, I strongly feel that he definitely deserves the #4 ranking but I just didn’t expect it from big media.
I was very happy for the recognition our Detroit guy received and started puffing my chest out a little bit, but then instantly started to feel a bad feeling and it wasn’t gas smart aleck. That feeling was a sinking feeling and it still sticks with me right now. My gut is telling me that Cliff Avril is going to be gone unless the Lions use the franchise tag on him, which is not the prime option for either the player or the organization.
It’s amazing how Cliff Avril’s star has sky-rocketed!
Last year when I glowingly mentioned Cliff Avril’s name to a buddy of mine that lives in Chicago, my friend whose an avid Bear fan barely knew who I was talking about. But now, Cliff Avril’s name is well known because of the success of the Detroit Lions this past year and it may ironically end the relationship between the team and the player. I certainly hope not, I think Cliff Avril is heck of a talent and I’d hate to have that guy lining up against us. I also think his personality fits well with the people in this area, people generally like the guy in Detroit and feel that he’s one of us. He’s “Detroit cool”.
But is winning in the place he was drafted and is bringing a Championship to the place where he once went 0-16 truly important to Cliff? Who knows… Only Avril knows and if it is important will he give those feeling a place in the negotiations with the Lions?
We all know that the NFL is a business, but I’m not so jaded as to think that some players don’t still have a sense of sentimentality to their roots or to the city and people who live and die with them. Do NFL players still give “hometown deals” or do they always play the “it’s up to my agent” game? I guess we will see.
If Cliff is determined to grab every single penny that he can possibly get, he has every right to that and I won’t be mad at the man. I can’t feed his family so I won’t judge him, but if he is reasonable with the Lions and agrees to a contract that both pays him well and helps keep this team on track to a Super Bowl the guy will be a legend around the D. And that’s like currency, THERE ARE NO MORE PASSIONATE FANS THAN IN DETROIT!
The Alvin Harper Of D-Lineman?
Doug Karsch of the “Karsch & Anderson” show of 97.1 The Ticket radio show in Detroit posed the question of whether Cliff Avril is the Alvin Harper of defensive lineman or not. You know how Alvin Harper looked great when playing next to Michael Irvin in Dallas but when he left for the big contract in Tampa he proved to not be so great(to say the least). Alvin Harper’s success was a by-product of the Dallas system and the greatness of Michael Irvin. So is Cliff Avril’s case the same with Detroit’s wide 9 system and him playing next to Suh and the rest?
I truly don’t think that’s the case with Cliff at all, I think he’s a guy that is coming into his own and really becoming a star player in his own right. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think he wouldn’t continue to benefit greatly by playing on the same D-line as the beastly Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Nick Fairley & crew. These guys have something special here and I hope Cliff values it. This team is on a fast track to a championship and Detroiters would love to see Cliff stick it out with us from the lowest lows to the highest highs. We’ve watched Cliff Avril grow, hopefully we don’t have to watch him go.
Here’s to hoping for some Detroit Love from the big guy!
Tidbits: Stephen Tulloch ranked #37 on the list of Top 50 Free Agents, Pete Prisco says this about the Lions MLB…
37. Stephen Tulloch, MLB, Detroit Lions: On a one-year deal, he had 111 tackles and two picks for the Lions. He just turned 27, so age isn’t an issue. He’s a steady player.