Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor wants more money and may hold out when training camp begins Friday, a league source confirms.
Add another point of intrigue to the beginning of Seahawks training camp Friday, as safety Kam Chancellor is considering holding out in an attempt to get a new contract.
NFL.com initially reported the news, and a league source confirmed to the Times that Chancellor is considering holding out and would like to redo his deal.
Chancellor signed a five-year contract extension in April 2013 worth $35 million with $17 million guaranteed. However, his contract does not include guaranteed money after this season, when he is due for a base salary of $4.45 million.
Chancellor, 27, is entering his sixth season with the Seahawks and has battled injuries the past few seasons. He missed two games because of a groin injury but had missed only one game previously in his Seattle career.
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However, he said in the spring that he felt as healthy this offseason as he had any year since being drafted in 2010, fully recovering from a knee injury suffered the Friday before the Super Bowl.
Chancellor, who is represented by Alvin Keels, joins a list of Seahawks players in some sort of contract intrigue as camp gets set to open Friday.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is attempting to negotiate an extension, as is middle linebacker Bobby Wagner — both are eligible for extensions now that they are in the final season of their initial four-year rookie contracts.
Defensive lineman Michael Bennett also would like a new contract and held out of organized team activities to indicate his unhappiness, though he did attend a mandatory minicamp. NFL.com is reporting what has also been said by others, that Bennett is likely to show up Friday.
And defensive end Bruce Irvin is miffed that the team did not exercise his contract option for the 2016 season, which would have paid him more than $7 million.
Players can be fined up to $30,000 a day for holding out of training camp.
It could be the second year a high-profile player is absent when camp begins.
Running back Marshawn Lynch held out for the first week of training camp last year, returning after the Seahawks agreed to make some adjustments that guaranteed him an additional $1.5 million, though he did not receive any new money.
The team, though, has a general stance of not renegotiating contracts unless the player is in the final year of his deal.
However, former player agent Joel Corry, who writes about NFL financial issues for CBSSports.com, said he thinks how the team has handled Lynch could be influencing other players to seek new deals. Lynch contemplated retirement after the 2014 season but signed a contract in March that guaranteed him $12 million as well as a $12 million annual salary, along with the adjustment he received last summer.
“The fact that they did anything with Marshawn’s contract, the players are going to look at that as, ‘They did something for Marshawn that they didn’t have to do, so if I go down that same road, maybe they will do something for me,’ ” Corry said. “That’s the problem with not taking a hard line.”
Corry said the way Chancellor’s contract is structured, with the cap hits increasing to $6.1 million in 2016 and $8.1 million in 2017 “leave him vulnerable” if he has a bad season, which could lead to the team asking him to restructure his contract, or his release. That could play into Chancellor’s desire to want to get something with more guaranteed money up front.
Chancellor’s deal has also since been surpassed by those given to some other safeties. OvertheCap.com lists Chancellor eighth among NFL safeties in average annual salary per year at just over $7 million.
Corry, though, said he’d be stunned if the Seahawks redo Chancellor’s contract because of the precedent that would set. Corry noted that players such as Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, both of whom received extensions last season, could then see an opening to redo their deals.
“A holdout of a guy with three years remaining is an exercise in futility,” Corry said. “Teams are not in the business of doing a contract when a guy’s got three years left. If you do something like that, you are going to have mass chaos down the road.”
If Chancellor holds out, the Seahawks could open camp with backups at both starting safety spots. Thomas, the starting free safety, is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and it’s uncertain if he will be available when camp begins. He could start camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list.
The Seahawks also have no set backup at strong safety after Jeron Johnson signed with Washington in the offseason. Several young players, including second-year player Dion Bailey, seventh-round draft pick Ryan Murphy and Chancellor’s half-brother, Keenan Lambert, are among those expected to compete at backup strong safety. However, if Chancellor were to really miss a game, the most likely replacement would be DeShawn Shead, who has played both corner and safety and spent the OTAs and mini-camp playing in place of Thomas.
The Seahawks will hold their first practice Friday at 10:25 a.m. The Seahawks will hope for more answers rather than additional questions by the time the whistle blows.
As for reaction to the news about Chancellor, he got some social media support from Irvin, who tweeted: