Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill has re-structured his contract, ESPN's Mike Sando reports.
As part of the six-year, $36 million contract Hill signed was scheduled to earn a guaranteed base salary of $6 million in 2010. Sando reports that Hill is now scheduled to earn $2.125 million, and the $26.875 million remaining between 2011 and 2014 has been cleared, making Hill a free agent after the 2010 season.
A third-round pick out of Clemson in 2005, the 6-1, 238-pound Hill made an immediate impact for the as a rookie, totaling 72 tackles and 7.5 quarterback sacks in 15 games (9 starts) and leading the NFC Champion Seahawks with 23 tackles during the post-season.
Injuries have cost Hill twelve games in the four seasons after his rookie campaign, and Hill’s sack production (7) has failed to match his rookie output.
During his 67-game career, Hill has 375 tackles (31 for a loss), 14.5 quarterback sacks, 11 passes defensed, 6 fumbles forced and 2 fumble recoveries.
Despite the lucrative contract, 2009 was a low point for Hill.
Discovered asleep at the wheel by police at an intersection in suburban Atlanta in February, Hill was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after police discovered a small amount of the drug inside a backpack in the front seat of his car. Former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell and head coach Jim Mora still decided to place the $8.304 million franchise tag on Hill, which was rescinded after the Seahawks used the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft on Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.
Hill would sign his six-year contract a few days later.
A groin injury in the first quarter of the regular season-opener limited Hill to 11 games during the 2009 season, during which Hill posted career-lows in tackles (46) and had just one quarterback sack.
Hill’s off-field issues continued this off-season.
Ten days after pleading guilty to the drug possession charges in April, Hill was arrested by Issaquah (Wash.) police after an altercation with his live-in girlfriend. Hill was charged with misdemeanor assault/domestic violence. The Seahawks instructed Hill to stay away from the facility for the majority of the team’s “Organized Team Activity” sessions, with Hill not re-surfacing until the final sessions.
Hill resolved the legal matter earlier this month, agreeing to court-ordered stipulations such as completing a domestic violence treatment program, counseling, community service, and staying out of trouble, which if completed within 18 months, will result in the dismissal of the charges.
Hill had time to resolve that issue after spraining his knee on August 10, which has kept him out of the Seahawks’ pre-season games. The National Football League has suspended Hill for the team’s season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 12, and will dock him an additional game check for his drug charge in Georgia. Prior to his restructure, that punishment was going to cost Hill $705,882 in salary, but with his lower base salary, he’ll lose $250,000, 2/17ths of his $2.125 million salary.
The NFL has yet to make a ruling regarding additional punishment for Hill’s domestic violence charge in Washington state.
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.