The contract of Chris Clemons reveals it is indeed the low-risk deal many assumed while also perpetuating Seattle's recent history of mostly taking care of its own players during free agency rather than hand out big salaries to those from other teams.
The details of the contract of the most-recent player the Seahawks have signed — veteran defensive end Chris Clemons, making his second tour with the team — are about what was expected.
Clemons, 34, signed a one-year deal worth a maximum of $1.5 million. But only $150,000 of that is guaranteed (a signing bonus) with Clemons having to earn the rest (details from Aaron Wilson and ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia).
Clemons has a $1 million salary, will get $12,500 for every game he is active and also can earn a $150,000 workout bonus.
So essentially, it’s the low-risk deal everyone figured with Clemons being brought in with the hope that he can add situational pass rushing as a backup to Cliff Avril at LEO spot and also used in other pass-rushing roles, an area where the team needed to add depth after the departure in free agency of linebacker Bruce Irvin.
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Avril and Michael Bennett, the team’s two starting defensive ends, each have average annual salaries of $7.125 million.
Clemons is one of four outside free agents the Seahawks have brought in since the signing period began March 9, all to relatively low-risk deals, with Seattle again having followed through on its pledge to spend free agency largely taking care of its own players.
While Seattle ranks 14th in overall spending during free agency, according to Spotrac.com, at $56.3 million in total contract value, just roughly 17 percent of that was spend on outside players.
Aside from Clemons, the three other outside free agents signed by the Seahawks are offensive linemen J’Marcus Webb (two years, $6 million total, $2.45 million guaranteed) and Bradley Sowell (one year, $1 million with $200,000 guaranteed) and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (one year, $1.05 million, $200,000 guaranteed).
So the guarantees the Seahawks have handed out to outside free agents this year remains relatively minimal — a total of $2.9 million overall.
In contrast, Seattle re-signed four of its own potential free agents (defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, receiver Jermaine Kearse, punter Jon Ryan, cornerback Jeremy Lane) to contracts with a total of $26.2 million guaranteed.
And the four Seahawks who got away — Irvin, defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Russell Okung — signed deals with a total of $44 million guaranteed.
Clemons played for the Seahawks from 2010-13 before being released and signing with Jacksonville, a four-year deal worth $17.5 million overall.