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Seahawks Re-Sign Leroy Hill

Update: 710ESPN is reporting the deal is 6yr/$38 million with $15.5 million guaranteed. Given Curry's contract will probably be heavily back-loaded, I assume Seattle will somewhat front-load Hill's contract.

Danny O'neil is reporting Seattle has re-signed Leroy Hill. Contract terms unknown.

First off: Oh hell yeah!

The terms of the contract and and even more importantly, how Seattle chooses to use Hill will ultimately decide if this is a good move or a bad ass move. In a pure Tampa 2 role, strictly working the short zone and blowing up running plays, this is a good or at least fairly good signing. I suspect Hill will show more playing over the receiver and tackling after the pass than he did actually covering the receiver. It's still not his strong suit, and it leaves him one-half a below average linebacker. As a run stopper, though, Hill more than makes up for that deficit. He's deadly on the wings, able to explode the sweep or screen, and though he's not great at shedding a lead blocker and tackling on his own, in Seattle's stack and gang-tackle system, he's very effective exploding the lead blocker into the hole and enabling his teammates to get the tackle.

Seattle isn't going pure Tampa 2, or so I am to believe. I'm not sure what the West Coast Defense is, but we have some clues. It will involve multiple and likely dynamic and dependent looks out of its front four. It will often work from a 4-3 over. Which looks a bit like this:


With the strongside linebacker (presumably Aaron Curry) playing over the tight end. As an aside, I've started breaking down some tape of Aaron Curry, and let me tell you he punishes tight ends off the snap. Hill could blitz from the weakside or drop into a short zone.

The former is the key to maximizing Hill's value. Hill is a blitzing linebacker, all the way back to his days at Clemson. He counted coup on opposing quarterbacks 16 times in his final two seasons. He has the quickness and clean lines to burst through a hole, the feet to do it through traffic, and the power to pulverize would-be pass blockers or piston the quarterback into the earth.

Aaron Curry is not a blitzing linebacker. He may yet develop, but early indication is that among a broad-base of top skills, pass rushing is one where he's just good. That's okay, because Seattle finally has a chance to turn some of that sudden pressure into picks, and with Curry, pick six. Hill's cover skills are then easily covered, either by  blitzing him or benching him on third downs. Should they do the latter, and they will no doubt occasionally do the latter, Seahawks fans will instantly appreciate the sea change improvement from the Jennings-Wilson-Hill-Tatupu-Trufant nickel packages of last year to the Lucas-Wilson-Curry-Tatupu-Trufant nickel packages of 2009. Don't be surprised if third down defense is the story of 2009. And if Jim Mora and Gus Bradley use Hill right, don't be surprised is Seattle's "best linebacker corps in football" and most talented linebacker corps in football, becomes the Best Linebacker Corps in Football.

In summation, this is a great capper to a great week for the front office, but the full value of this signing is yet determined.