Reviewing possible options for Kam Chancellor and the Seahawks as he gives what some viewed as a hint at possible retirement on Friday.
So was Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor hinting at retirement when he posted a drawing on Instagram Friday showing him in street clothes appearing to walk away from a Seahawk logo?
As Friday wore on, no real answer arrived. As one person said, Chancellor could just be toying with everyone.
There was no indication throughout the day that anything with Chancellor’s status had changed — officially, anyway.
When Marshawn Lynch cryptically posted a pair of cleats hanging over a wire with a peace out sign, his retirement was immediately confirmed by league sources, as well as in tweets from teammates — it turned out that Lynch had let some close to him how he was going to let the world know that his career was done (well, done for then, and in Seattle, anyway).
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But that isn’t apparently the case here, where no one Friday seemed to know or acknowledge anything.
Chancellor, indeed, may have just been playing around — or just posting a picture he liked (and it’s worth noting Chancellor has not talked publicly in any form since his injury as he was off limits to media covering the team after he was hurt and has not talked since the end of the season).
Whatever the case, the reality remains that Chancellor is unlikely to play for the Seahawks again, while similarly remaining unlikely to retire anytime soon.
The reason for the latter is that his contract calls for him to receive $12 million in injury guarantees over the next two seasons and no one figures he’d give that up willingly, which he would do if he retired.
Still, wondering if maybe there was something that could have changed here, I talked on Friday with former NFL agent Joel Corry who now writes about NFL salary cap issues for CBSSports.com.
“I’m taking that to mean he knows he can’t pass a physical,” said Corry of Chancellor’s post.
Chancellor, recall, suffered a neck injury against Arizona on Nov. 9 that caused stingers and did not play the rest of the season with coach Pete Carroll saying later it would be difficult for either Chancellor or Cliff Avril (who suffered a similar injury against the Colts on Oct. 1) to play again. While Avril had surgery, Chancellor did not, and the official word is that he will continue to be examined and final declarations made later. But conventional wisdom has remained that it’d be unlikely he would get cleared to play.
But Corry repeated he can’t imagine Chancellor would retire.
“He’s not going to voluntarily retire and walk away from $12 million,” Corry said. “People aren’t that nice.”
Corry wrote the definitive take on Chancellor’s contract earlier this month when he called the three-year, $36 million contract Chancellor signed before the season the worst contract year extension for any NFL team because of how it could hamstring the Seahawks in the event that something happened to Chancellor along the way — as ended up unfortunately happening.
As Corry detailed then, there will at least be some activity on the Chancellor front in two weeks as his $6.8 million salary for the 2018 season becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster six days after the Super Bowl. But that money was also guaranteed for injury, meaning Chancellor will get it even if he can’t play in 2018.
So why not just cut Chancellor, as cut-throat as that may sound to do to one of the franchise’s most iconic players?
Because the way his contract is structured, more of the cap hit would then go on the 2018 season.
As Corry wrote: “Seattle’s cap charge for Chancellor (in 2018) would balloon to $19.5 million by releasing him while acknowledging that the injury will prevent his return. It would be composed of the $7.5 million in signing bonus proration from the final three contract years and the two injury guarantees. Guarantees from future contract years accelerate into the current year when a player is released. Making Chancellor a post-June 1 designation, which would require waiting until the 2018 league year begins and letting the $6.8 million become fully guaranteed, would allow the Seahawks to take the cap hit over two years. Seattle’s cap charge would be $14.5 for the upcoming league year and $5 million in 2019 because of the delay in the acceleration of the signing bonus proration from the final two contract years.”
Chancellor currently is slated to count for $9.5 million against the salary cap in 2018.
And as Corry wrote, if the Seahawks cut Chancellor in the next two weeks before his contract became fully guaranteed there would still be a significant salary cap hit as well as the potential of some added unseemly business along the way.
“Letting Chancellor go before his 2018 base salary becomes fully guaranteed early next month while disputing that the injury is a career-ender would likely result in him filing a grievance,” Corry wrote. “The cap charge would be $12.3 million. In addition to the $7.5 million of signing-bonus proration, 40 percent of the $12 million in dispute, which is $4.8 million, would count on Seattle’s books until the arbitrator made a decision. Seattle would get a $4.8 million cap credit with a favorable decision. The remaining $7.2 million would become a cap obligation with a ruling against the Seahawks. A settlement of the grievance would operate in similar manner where a cap credit or debit would depend on the actual amount.”
Seeing the Seahawks and Chancellor duke things out in arbitration would seem to be the last outcome anyone wants here and it’s hard to imagine the Seahawks taking that route.
There could be a settlement along the way agreed to by each side, but that would also come with salary cap implications of some sort.
As Corry said Friday “there’s no easy way around this thing.”
What remains most likely, Corry said, is that the five-day period after the Super Bowl will pass with nothing happening and Chancellor’s 2018 salary becoming guaranteed and then the high probability that he begins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
As Corry wrote earlier this month: “Carrying Chancellor in 2018 at his full cap number with him most likely starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list might be Seattle’s best option. In the event he did make a recovery, the 2019 injury guarantee wouldn’t be an issue and Seattle would have the option to release him before the $5.2 million became fully guaranteed in February 2019. The cap hit would be $5 million with the guarantee out of the picture and $10.2 million if there’s still an obligation for it. Either way, Seattle would be getting cap relief because Chancellor’s 2019 cap number is $13 million.”
Not exactly how anyone, well, drew this one up initially, but which despite Chancellor’s post Friday may be how this will all go down.