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Monday, March 18, 2013
Cliff Avril's contract provides flexibility

By Mike Sando

PHOENIX -- The Seattle Seahawks did not necessarily anticipate Cliff Avril becoming available to them at a discount price.

A soft market for defensive ends delivered Avril to Seattle on a two-year deal.

Avril
Clemons
Contract details provide additional perspective.

Avril will receive a $4.5 million signing bonus and $1.5 million base salary this season. He's scheduled to receive a $7 million salary in 2014, bringing the two-year total to $13 million.

The structure provides Seattle with flexibility after one season. The first-year charge against the salary cap is a modest $3.75 million. That figure includes half of the $4.5 million signing bonus plus the full 2013 base salary. That 2013 cap charge is low enough for Seattle to comfortably carry Avril and injured incumbent starter Chris Clemons ($8.2 million cap hit in 2013) on the roster this year while figuring out where both players stand in 2014.

Avril's contract carries a $9.25 million salary-cap charge in 2014. Clemons' deal is scheduled to count nearly $9.7 million against the cap that year. Carrying both those charges would not be impossible, but neither would it necessarily be ideal.

The contracts for Avril and Clemons would allow Seattle to part with one or even both following the 2013 season without incurring massive cap charges. Releasing Avril after one season would leave $2.25 million counting against the 2014 cap. Releasing Clemons after the 2013 season would produce a $2.16 million charge against the 2014 cap.

Extending either player's contract would allow Seattle to lower the 2014 cap hit if the team chose to go that route.

The Seahawks aren't talking about releasing Avril or Clemons after just one season. The team has high expectations for both players. However, the contracts carry protection for the team if plans change.