According to Albert Breer the Lions last ditch attempt at landing Cliff Avril was $30 million over three years with a reported $20 million in guarantees.
Apparently Cliff feels that he is worth more than that, and quite frankly whether he is or isn't, he will likely get paid accordingly. He has no reason not to play under the franchise tag this year which will reward with with $10.6 million for the season, and next year he will become an unrestricted free agent and if he doesn't like the Lions' offer, the young pass rusher will have no shortage of suitors.
The Lions would love to keep Cliff around, he is a key part of their defensive scheme, but make no mistake about it, he is not an elite pass rusher in the NFL. Cliff posted his best season with 11 sacks in 2011, but it was done while primarily being blocked one on one, rarely facing the double teams that the leagues premiere pass rushers face. He is ideally suited for the wide 9 defensive front, and honestly would not be as productive in some other systems. Cliff also gets the luxury of being part of an 8 man rotation, allowing the edge rusher to be fresh more often, something most other teams can not afford to do. Lastly, as much as I love Cliff's attitude, athleticism, and motor; he isn't that good against the run. The wide 9 system makes it look worse than it is, but he is not great at stacking the edge at the point of attack.
Conclusion: Avril's best option would have been to sign the deal to stay in Detroit, where the system and players around him will put him in the best position to succeed. However, the reality of a short NFL career and the allure of big money could be too great to pass up. Expect Cliff, if healthy, to play his last season with the Lions, and land with a team that is going to overspend to land the former Boilermaker. As a Lions fan I hate to admit that I expect him to be gone, because he has really grown since his rookie year, but the Lions can not afford to overpay for his services. Hopefully Lo-Jack, Willie Young, and Everette Brown continue to make strides in 2012, because they may be the face of the Lions' pass rushing presence from the outside.