When defensive end Cliff Avril turned down the Lions' $30-million, three-year contract offer last season, general manager Martin Mayhew said that he liked that Avril was willing to bet on himself "to outperform what was on the table."

Avril, an unrestricted free agent, and the Lions are back for another off-season of staring at each other from across the betting table, waiting for the other guy to blink first.

But Mayhew isn't even interested in showing his cards for now. When reporters asked Mayhew last week whether he wanted Avril back, Mayhew only hinted at his preference.

"All those guys that are free agents we're continuing to have discussions about," Mayhew said. "I talked to a few of their agents and we've got ample time to sort through those situations.

"If you go back and look at our history here, we haven't had a lot of free agents that we really wanted to have back that we didn't get back. We haven't had a lot of guys that were free agents here that we thought were good players that went somewhere else and they performed great somewhere else. You can go back and take a look at that. The guys that we want back we have been able to get back for the most part."

It makes sense that the Lions should want Avril, 26, back. He's an excellent pass rusher, young and dependable. Last week, former Indianapolis Colts executive Bill Polian ranked Avril among the best free-agent defensive ends.