One day after signing K.J. Wright to a four-year contract extension, the Seahawks have done the same with defensive end Cliff Avril, inking him to a deal worth up to $28.5 million, with $16 million guaranteed. This is a nice raise for a player that signed with Seattle two seasons ago for two years, $15 million in a depressed defensive end market. The number that Avril is reportedly getting now is, on the surface, the exact same deal that Michael Bennett got over the offseason.
Avril has one of the quickest get-offs in the NFL at the strongside defensive end position, has racked up 52 sacks in seven seasons, and no player has forced more fumbles (22) than Avril since he entered the league. He's 28 years old, still within that area that many consider to be "prime" for pass rushers. Importantly, the Hawks can now pair Avril with rush-mate Michael Bennett for the foreseeable future.
While Avril's sack numbers are down this season (4.5 compared to 9.0 last year), his quarterback hurries number (38) is 4th in the NFL among 4-3 defense ends per Pro Football Focus, just behind Michael Bennett (44). Avril also has 9 quarterback hits, so while he'll make it a goal to finish more often, he is doing what the Seahawks want him to do, and that's "affecting" the quarterback.
Avril is a key cog in the Seahawks' defensive rotation, and has played in 72 percent of their snaps this season.
It's been a good year-plus for the Seahawks, who have locked up Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Doug Baldwin, Michael Bennett, K.J. Wright, and now Cliff Avril into long term deals. They also extended Pete Carroll.
The big question now remains which Seahawk players come next in terms of re-signing the core group. Byron Maxwell is playing himself into a lot of money this year and is a free agent after the season. Bobby Wagner is due to be a free agent after next season, as is Bruce Irvin. On offense, the Hawks will have decisions to make on James Carpenter, and obviously will need to start thinking about locking Russell Wilson up long term.