Seattle Seahawks president Tim Ruskell took a risk last weekend, removing the franchise tag on linebacker Leroy Hill not long after the team selected linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft.
On Thursday, Ruskell’s gamble paid off, as Hill and the Seahawks agreed to a long-term contract. According to the Associated Press, the deal is for six years and up to $38 million, including $15.5 million in guaranteed money.
Ruskell said the move was made to help facilitate negotiations, which had stalled out, but many believed removing the franchise tag was the beginning of the end of the Hill era in Seattle. Instead, talks heated up this week, and Hill is expected to be on hand for the Seahawks minicamp that starts today.
Had Hill signed the franchise tender, he would have made $8.3 million next season, but the Seahawks instead made him an unrestricted free agent after snagging Curry, the top linebacker in the draft.
The Seahawks now have one of the top linebacking units in the league with Hill, Curry and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, a pro bowler in each of his first three seasons.
Hill, a third-round draft pick in 2005, has started 50 of 56 career games, while totaling 321 tackles (237 solo), 13.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
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