In 2012, defensive end Cliff Avril earned $10.605 million in fully guaranteed base salary as the franchise player with the Detroit Lions. Avril was expected to hit the jackpot in free agency, but as was the case with defensive ends (and cornerbacks), the market wasn't there, prompting Avril to sign a two-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks worth a reported $15 million.
According to a source with knowledge of the contract details, Avril's deal in Seattle is actually worth $13 million, with $11 million in guaranteed money and a little over $2 million available in incentives and escalators.
As part of his deal with the Seahawks, Avril received a $4.5 million signing bonus and has a $1.5 million base salary in 2013 that is fully guaranteed for a first-year cap hit of $3.75 million. That cap number currently places him outside of the Top 10 cap numbers on the 2013 Seahawks, where he's nestled in between right tackle Breno Giacomini ($4.25 million) and left guard Paul McQuistan ($3.375 million).
Avril is due a $7 million base salary in 2014, $5 million of which is currently guaranteed for injury only. On the fifth day of the 2014 waiver period, which begins the day after Super Bowl XLVIII, the $5 million in base salary will become fully guaranteed. Avril's cap number in 2014 is currently scheduled to be $9.25 million.
Avril also has $700,000 in what are currently terms "Not Likely To Be Earned" incentives tied to sacks in both 2013 and 2014, as well as a $700,000 base salary escalator for 2014 that is also tied to the number of sacks he achieves in 2013. If Avril maxes out his deal with the Seahawks, he'll earn $15.1 million over the next two seasons.