Questions about the futures of Fred Jackson and Kam Chancellor in our latest Seahawks mailbag.
Got a couple of Twitter/e-mail questions on Monday involving events that happened on Monday that are worth quickly reviewing here. Specifically, the future of running back Fred Jackson, and whether the new deal for Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins would impact Kam Chancellor.
First, Fred Jackson.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Jackson, who turned 35 last week, wants to keep playing.
So is there a chance the Seahawks would still be interested?
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I’ve heard nothing definitely but my guess is probably not.
Jackson, recall, was signed to fulfill a specific need at a specific time, that as third-down back and emergency backup, brought in right before the season was to begin after the injury that shelved Robert Turbin and eventually resulted in his waiving (with an injury settlement).
The trade of Christine Michael also factored in somewhat, as well, meaning Seattle needed depth. But it was Turbin’s injury that was the bigger factor in Seattle wanting to sign Jackson to fill the role of third-down/two-minute back which puts a premium on receiving and blocking ability (Jackson finished with 32 receptions for 257 yards this season compared to 26 carries for 100 yards rushing).
Recall as well that Jackson was close with Marshawn Lynch due to their days as teammates in Buffalo, something that undoubtedly made it more appealing for the Seahawks to bring him in.
But Lynch is now retired, and Jackson a year older, and Seattle will probably move in a different direction for a third-down back, likely looking at younger and cheaper options.
Seattle already has signed one potentially intriguing candidate in Cameron Marshall, a former Arizona State player who spent last season in the CFL. Marshall caught 64 passes during his ASU career and 32 last season for Winnipeg.
The list of potential UFA running backs also offers a few other interesting names such as Chris Polk (Seattle reportedly gave him an offer last season), Benny Cunningham (45 receptions in 2014 and also experience as a returner, where he could add depth) and Jacquizz Rodgers. Low-cost, low-risk and younger players like that would seem to be more viable options for that role going forward.
Next, Jenkins and his contract.
Jenkins, 27, signed a four-year, $35 million extension Monday that includes $21 million in guarantees ($16 million at the time of signing) and essentially pay him about $8.75 million per season. According to Spotrac.com, that ranks Jenkins fourth among safeties behind Earl Thomas ($10 million), Devin McCourty ($9.5 million) and Jairus Byrd ($9 million).
And it pushes Chancellor down to seventh at just over $7 million.
Jenkins, though, plays free safety (and also had a significant amount of snaps this season as essentially a nickel corner) a position that tends to be more valued salary-wise than strong safety. Chancellor is still essentially tied with Reshad Jones as the highest-paid strong safety on an average salary basis. So from that standpoint, it wouldn’t seem Jenkins’ deal would have a big impact on the strong safety market. But who knows for sure how any individual player or agent will view it? One person familiar with the league said any safety contract larger than his will likely be “relevant” in any talks the Seahawks would have with Chancellor about solidifying his future with the team.
Chancellor’s future with the Seahawks, though, seems more nuanced than any one contract signed by another safety, though. Had he not held out and missed games last season, then a renegotiation of some sort based in part on contracts that have come more recently than he signed his might be easier to do. But now the perception of who wins the holdout and all of that comes into play, as does any lingering resentment from either side, making his future with the Seahawks potentially a bit more complicated than most.
Chancellor’s contract includes cap hits of $6.1 million in 2016 and $8.1 million in 2017, with the Seahawks able to get substantial savings by releasing him ($4.1 million in 2016 and $7.1 million in 2017) which remains one of the real cruxes of the issue.