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December 19, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Seahawks sign defensive end Cliff Avril to four-year extension

 

avril

The Seahawks continue to take steps to keep their vaunted defense together, today signing defensive end Cliff Avril (above) to a four-year extension worth $28.5 million — $16 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com, the league’s official website.

The team has since officially announced the signing and confirmed that it is a four-year deal.

Avril would have been a free agent at the end of the season, in the second-year of a two-year contract worth as much as $15.1 million he signed prior to the 2013 season that includes a base salary of $7 million.

Avril confirmed the deal in a couple of Tweets Friday morning, writing that: ‘We have something special here in Seattle and I’m happy that I’ll be apart of it for a few more years.”

In a statement from the team, general manager John Schneider said: “Cliff has been instrumental in what we’ve been building on the defensive side of the ball and we are excited that he’ll be with us for another four years. He has been relentless in his approach to the game and his passion for winning is contagious. This is another great day for the Seahawks and the 12s.”

Here’s a story on Avril from August in which he talked about his contract situation and desire to stay in Seattle, as well as some of the gambles he had taken along the way with his contract situation and hopes that it would pay off with the Seahawks.

As that story noted, Avril turned down a three-year, $30 million extension with Detroit in 2011 and the perception was that he then signed a lesser deal with the Seahawks after the market changed.

But as Avril said then, he was confident it would all work out: “I mean, I’m not making chump change. I’m blessed just to be playing ball.’’

Avril becomes the second player in two days to ink a big extension with the team, joining linebacker K.J. Wright who signed a four-year, $27 million deal yesterday.

He also becomes the sixth member of the defense now locked up through at least 2017, joining cornerback Richard Sherman, safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, defensive lineman Michael Bennett, and Wright.

It’s expected the team will extend middle linebacker Bobby Wagner after the season, as well, along with quarterback Russell Wilson. The team cannot negotiate with either until after the season, when each completes the third year of their four-year rookie deals.

The 28-year-old Avril has teamed with Bennett to give Seattle what is regarded as one of the best sets of defensive ends in the NFL — Bennett is ranked third and Avril 13th among 4-3 defensive ends by Pro Football Focus. PFF also rates Avril as having 38 quarterback hurries this season, fourth most among 4-3 defensive ends.

Avril has 4.5 sacks this season after making eight a year ago in his first season with the Seahawks. He played the first five years of his career with the Lions. He received credit for the safety that began Seattle’s 43-8 Super Bowl in over Denver and led Seattle with 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hits in the post-season last year.

The guaranteed money in Avril’s deal is among the top 10 or so in the NFL (here’s a list from Overthecap.com which would have him tied for 10th).

 

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