The only way to counter great quarterbacks are putting them on the ground. For the Atlanta Falcons that will become top priority in the AFC South. Should they try to give their defense a boost by taking Cliff Avril from the Detroit Lions?
Avril using Calais Campbell from Arizona Cardinals as leverage
Young NFL players almost always look for the big contract coming off their best year as a pro. Cliff Avril is no different. The 26-year-old defensive end had 11 sacks last season and believes he deserves a long-term deal from the Detroit Lions. The team already has made their offers but reports say the two sides are at least $2 million apart. Part of why Avril has stood firm on his price has to do with another end playing for the Arizona Cardinals in Calais Campbell. Both the same age, Campbell has massed 21 sacks and four forced fumbles in three seasons. Avril has 30.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in that same time. Yet Campbell still managed to earn a long-term deal giving him $11 million per year. Why should Avril, who has put up better numbers take anything less? The Lions have high hopes they can reach a deal but the longer he holds out they risk losing him to free agency. That means they may have to field trade offers.
Falcons have players like Brent Grimes and Harry Douglas to entice trade
One team that can't possibly have enough pass rush heading into the 2012 season are the Atlanta Falcons. In a division dominated by quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman, the Falcons defense will often stand between shootout or blowout. While the team has sunk much of its money into the offense, they've tirelessly looked for help at defensive line to go along with sack man John Abraham. They've found a few gems but no real every down guys. This explains why they spent the offseason trying to improve the secondary. That's why the issues with Avril up in Detroit should have their interest. While any price to actually trade for the defensive end will go high, Atlanta seems well placed to make it. Two areas of need for Detroit are at wide receiver and cornerback. The Falcons are plentiful at both spots. Players such as Brent Grimes or Harry Douglas could make terrific trade bait along with a prudent draft pick or two. The price is worth it if Atlanta can get another 10-11 sacks a year.
Cliff Avril thinks he deserves as much money from the Detroit Lions as Calais Campbell got from the Arizona Cardinals. With the Lions sinking so much of their money in other places, a team like the Atlanta Falcons might willingly make a trade with a Brent Grimes or Harry Douglas to make both sides happy.