The Seattle Seahawks went into the 2013 offseason looking for some help in the pass-rush department, and found it in the form of defensive end Cliff Avril.
Formerly of the Detroit Lions, the 26-year-old Avril was coveted as the premier edge rusher as free agency kicked off on Tuesday. The market was slow for Avril, who many thought would demand a much higher price than teams would be willing to pay. The Seahawks – who had plenty of cap space to work with – swooped in on Wednesday and stole one of the top players of the 2013 free agency class.
Although full terms of the deal were not included in initial reports, the length of Avril’s deal with the Seahawks is said to be two years. Financial terms will surface soon, but his annual numbers are expected to be less than the $10.6 million he received last year under the franchise tag.
Throughout his five-year NFL career, Avril has amassed 39.5 sacks as part of a ferocious Lions defensive line. The last two years, Avril has been a full-time starter in Detroit, racking up 20.5 of those 39.5 sacks during that time. He has also forced 16 fumbles along the way.
Now with the Seahawks, Avril will provide an immediate boost to their pass rush. He’ll team with speed rusher Bruce Irvin, the 2012 NFL rookie leader in sacks, to help replace the production of Chris Clemons as he bounces back from an ACL tear. Considering that Clemons is due $6 million in 2013 and will count $8.17 million against the cap, Avril could potentially make the rehabbing veteran expendable if the Seahawks needed to open up some salary space.
More than anything, the signing of Avril addresses the pass rush, an area that the Seahawks considered their top priority heading into the offseason. He’s young, has plenty of potential, and will benefit from Seattle’s tremendous defensive backfield.
The Seahawks already boasted one of the most talented rosters heading into free agency. With the addition of Percy Harvin via trade and now Avril, there’s no denying that they’re one of the scariest teams in the league heading into 2013.
If they can shore up the defensive tackle position either through free agency or the draft, the Seahawks could field one of the most dangerous defenses in NFL history this upcoming season.