The Detroit Lions have placed the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
A 2009 third-round pick out of Purdue, the 25-year-old Avril has 133 tackles, 30 quarterback sacks and 14 forced fumbles over the last four seasons, including a career-high 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2011.
Avril earned $1.634 million on his three-year rookie contract and $2.611 million in base salary under a one-year restricted free agent tender in 2011. The franchise tag for a defensive end is projected to be worth $10.595 million in base salary in 2012, which will become fully guaranteed once signed.
The Lions do not currently have the cap space to franchise Avril and will need to release players or restructure contracts in order to be cap compliant by March 13.