The Seattle Seahawks designated linebacker Leroy Hill their franchise player, the team announced Thursday.
By placing the franchise tag on Hill, Seattle will tender a minimum of the average salary of the top five linebackers in the NFL, or a 20 percent salary increase, whichever is greater. Hill will be free to negotiate with any other team, but the Seahawks can match any offer or receive two first-round draft choices if they decide not to match.
“We are excited that Leroy will remain a Seahawk,” president and general manager Tim Ruskell said. “We believe he is an important part of our defense and will continue to talk with his representative in hopes of securing a long-term deal which is our goal.”
Hill was originally selected by the Seahawks in the third-round (98th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft. He has started 50 of 56 career games played and finished third on the team in 2008 with 81 tackles (61 solo), leading the team in tackles through the first 12 games of the season until being sidelined for the final four games (stinger). He set a Seattle record for sacks by a rookie linebacker with 7.5 sacks in 2005.p