Seahawks finalize deal with DE Cliff Avril
The decision Cliff Avril ultimately faced was whether he’d be
comfortable accepting a shorter deal with the Seattle Seahawks for
the chance to play with a rising club that will likely go into next
season as a Super Bowl contender.
Instead of letting his free agency drag on and seeing what else
might be out there on the market, Avril left Detroit and jumped at
what he felt was his best option.
”As far as for me, I had an opportunity to come out here and
the opportunity presented itself and I had to jump on it,” Avril
said. ”Once again, it’s a winning team, they have a bunch of great
players, young players on their team that seem to love the game and
I want to be part of it.”
Avril and the Seahawks finalized their two-year contract on
Thursday, adding another needed pass rusher along their defensive
line and shoring up what coach Pete Carroll had said was Seattle’s
biggest offseason need.
Instead of waiting for the draft, the Seahawks decided it would
be free agency where they made their first moves to address that
”He’s been very productive as an edge player so we’re really
excited to add him in,” Carroll said. ”He’s got definite pass
rush ability as a featured rusher, he’s played linebacker in his
past and done a lot of dropping over the years, so he gives us a
real flexible athlete we can fit in in a number of different
In Avril, Seattle gets a long, lanky speed rusher who has
double-digit sack potential. He’s the kind of speed end that
Carroll loves, hoping to make life miserable for opposing
But Avril comes with the added flexibility of being able to drop
into coverage because of his history playing linebacker in college.
Those skills make him a player Carroll can’t wait to get his hands
on and develop schemes to maximize his talent.
”I don’t feel like you can have enough speed pass rushers on
your club,” Carroll said.
Avril also provides protection, as Seattle is still unsure of
the status of defensive end Chris Clemons due to a torn ACL in his
left knee suffered against Washington in the playoffs. Carroll said
Clemons still hopes to be back by the start of the regular season,
but the team will be cautious and not play him until he’s fully
Seattle finished the regular season with 36 sacks, tied for 18th
in the league. Eight of those sacks came in one game early in the
season against Green Bay, and the Seahawks had just eight sacks
over the final six weeks of the regular season.
Avril had 9 1/2 sacks last season, but the best of his five
years with Detroit came in 2011. Avril had 11 sacks – good for
seventh in the NFC – along with six forced fumbles and an
interception. He’s started all 16 games in each of the past two
Avril’s new deal is reportedly for $15 million and comes on the
heels of Seattle making a big splash earlier this week when the
Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin from Minnesota in exchange for three
draft picks. Oddly enough, the only player Avril says he really
knows on his new team is Harvin.
”I chose Seattle because I like what I’ve seen on defense, I
like what I’ve seen as a team,” Avril said. ”I played against
them last year also so I knew what they had a bunch of young guys
that seem to love the game of football and that goes out and plays
hard. I got the opportunity and I took it.”
While two years might seem like a short deal for one of the top
pass rushers on the market and less lucrative than most expected,
it was a contract length that worked for both sides.
Avril will be just 28 when the contract expires and its short
length gives Seattle the flexibility it desires with some key
components of its team on the verge of free agency in the coming
”It was really a combination of things. Cliff feels like he has
a lot to prove. He’s a very hungry guy right now,” Seattle general
manager John Schneider said. ”So in terms of his market value he
saw this as an ideal situation for him in the future and for us
Avril said he feels the Seahawks system will give him a chance
to become a well-rounded defensive end and another opportunity at a
better deal in a couple of seasons.
”I think it gives me a chance to fill out the position and get
a good feel for it, and the following year, dominate it
hopefully,” Avril said. ”We’ll see where we are at that