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Cliff Avril is a beast of DE that is hitting free agency in his prime at only 26 years of age. He will be a restricted free agent but it seems pretty unlikely that the Lions will have the cap space to match the contract offer he will get elsewhere.
The Raiders cap situation is ugly too but would it be worth it to figure out a way to break the bank for Avril? I believe the answer is yes. Cliff Avril is the kind of DE that can get you double digit sacks and that is absolutely what the Raiders are is dire need of.
Cliff has made no bones about wanting to go after the most money he can get this off-season so he definitely will not come cheap. He is probably expecting a contract similar to the one that Julius Peppers signed when he left the Panthers for the Bears.
Those numbers were $91.5 million over 6 years but if the Raiders could creatively come up with a way to spread the cap hit over the duration of the contract with a good sized signing bonus and a back loaded contract he could be affordable. Yes its paying close to $15M a year, but thats not more than the Raiders were paying Richard Seymour and he comes in at a much younger age.
It probably isn't going to be possible to make room for Avril within the Raiders cap situation but if they could sign him and draft Star Loutelie it would be well worth it to try. Even in a down year last year Cliff had 9.5 sacks in 2012, if its at all possible to make a move for him it would definitely behoove the Raiders to do so.
If Oakland could re-sign Desmond Bryant, draft Star Loutelie, and add Cliff Avril in free agency the defensive front 4 for the Raiders would be set for years. Can you imagine a starting defensive line that consisted of Lamaar Houston, Bryant, Loutelie, and Avril?!
The ability to set the defensive line with young players that are around the same age is a huge bonus because they learn how to play together as a unit and build much needed chemistry. This is one of the reasons that despite the cap difficulties it would cause it would really be interesting for the Raiders to go after Cliff Avril.
This is the type of high profile free agency signing that has blown up on the Raiders in past years so I definitely understand some hesitation on looking at Avril. He is the type of talent that simply does not come available within their prime years though and is definitely worth the look if its at all possible.
The Raiders are desperate for a pass rusher of Cliff's talent level and breaking the bank for him would be worth it. Oakland needs a player that is capable of double digit sack totals on their own and Avril fits that bill to a T.