A day after LB K.J. Wright got his, DE Cliff Avril got his — $28.5 million over four years, $16 million of which is guaranteed. NFL.com first reported the news of the contract extension Friday morning. The Seahawks are trying hard to keep together what has been over the past three years the most dominant defense in the NFL.
Avril has been playing more snaps this season than a year ago, when the Seahawks’ defensive line had fewer injuries and more depth. But as the primary rush end, he has 4.5 sacks, tied for 67th in the league, after eight in 2013. However, Pro Football Focus has recorded 38 QB hurries for Avril, which is seventh, just behind teammate Michael Bennett.
The Seahawks’ staff values QB pressure about as much as a sack, because the primary object is to force inaccuracy and interceptions. So the new deal ends speculation that there was any falloff in performance for Avril, 28, who could easily have been voted MVP of the Super Bowl win over Denver. It was his hit on QB Peyton Manning that created the interception that LB Malcolm Smith returned for a touchdown.
Avril, a 6-3, 252-pounder from Jacksonville, FL., and Purdue, was taken in the third round of the 2008 draft by Detroit, where he played five seasons before coming to Seattle as a free agent in 2013. He signed a two-year, $15.1 million deal that was up after this season.
The Seahawks have signed long-term deals with Wright, Avril, Bennett, CB Richard Sherman, SS Kam Chancellor and FS Earl Thomas, with LB Bobby Wagner likely next on the defense. His rookie contract will be up after 2015.
— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) December 19, 2014