That Percy Harvin trade from October keeps on giving. Now the Seahawks are even locking up their imports to keep their No.-1 ranked defense intact.
Seattle used some more of the future cap space it freed by dealing Harvin and his $11 million salary to the New York Jets in October and signed rush end Cliff Avril to a four-year contract extension, a league source with knowledge of the contract confirmed to me this morning. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Seahawks have yet to announce the deal, though they are likely to later today.
The Seahawks officially announced Avril's extension, a four-year deal, as earlier reported.
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"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," said Seahawks general manager John Schneider in a press release. "He has been relentless in his approach to teh game and his passion for winning is contagious. This is another great day for the Seahawks and the 12s."
It comes one day after the Seahawks re-signed outside linebacker K.J. Wright to a four-year extension worth $27 million.
Ian Rapoport of the league-owned television and internet networks was the first to report the deal that keeps Seattle's defensive line bookended with its ends under contract for through the 2017 season. Rapoport is reporting Avril's deal is worth $28.5 million with $16 million guaranteed.
Avril sounds happy, doesn't he?
Avril had eight sacks last season and has 4 1/2 through 14 games this season. But his value goes beyond that. Pro Football Focus has counted Avril with 38 quarterback hurries and nine quarterback hits this season. The Seahawks say Avril has 17 QB hits.
He's gone from a situational pass rusher in 2013 to far more valuable in 2014 as an every-down end who has started all 14 games opposite Michael Bennett.
The Seahawks let Bennett become a free agent of theirs this past March before they re-signed him to a $32 million, four-year deal, also with $16 million guaranteed.
Pro Football Focus' analytics rate Bennett and Avril as sixth and seventh among the NFL's best pass rushers.
Avril had 29 sacks in the previous three seasons for the Detroit Lions before the Seahawks signed him to a $13 million, two-year contract as a free agent in the spring of 2013. That expiring deal is paying him $7 million in base salary this year.