Shortly after officially announcing the signing of defensive end Cliff Avril Thursday afternoon, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider discussed what the team was hoping to accomplish in free agency and if they still planned to be active in the free agent market.
With defensive end Chris Clemons’ timetable still uncertain due to a torn ACL suffered in January, adding to the team’s pass rush was Schneider’s biggest priority. The signing of Avril seemed to fully address the problem.
“We really wanted to help our pass rush as much as we possibly could,” Schneider said. “After that, really just kind of focus on our own guys and see what comes next, see what’s down the line.”
But Schneider wasn’t satisfied. Soon after, the Seahawks added another weapon to their defensive line in signing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett to a one-year deal. The team friendly deals given to Avril and Bennett allows Seattle to improve their defense immediately and still take care of their own players when their deals come up over the next few seasons.
Avril signed a two-year deal worth $15 million while Bennett’s was a one-year deal for just $5 million. The commitments to both players are short-term and allows Seattle the flexibility to re-sign players such as quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Earl Thomas and other key pieces who will have their rookie deals expire or come up for renegotiation over the next few seasons.
With their primary need fully addressed by signing two of PFT’s top 11 players on our Top 100 list, Seattle may not be as ambitious through the free agent market the rest of the way. However, Schneider wouldn’t rule out making another move if the right opportunity shows itself.
“You never know what’s going to pop up,” Schneider said.