The deal Reshad Jones agreed to with Miami Thursday could have implications on Kam Chancellor's future in Seattle.
While the eyes and ears of Seahawks’ fans were understandably trained on what was happening locally when free agency began Thursday, a signing in Miami could prove to have significant impact on the future of one of Seattle’s most iconic players of the last decade — safety Kam Chancellor.
Chancellor is entering the final season of his contract, and the question of whether the Seahawks will offer him an extension has hovered over the off-season.
Not that there was any reason to think it would have happened yet, or anything to read into the fact that it hasn’t — Seattle has typically waited until after free agency, and often until after the draft, to sign extensions of its own players entering the final year of their deals. Doug Baldwin signed last year in June, for instance, and Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner on the eve of the opening of camp the year before.
But if the team is hoping to re-up Chancellor, the deal that Miami gave Reshad Jones on Thursday likely upped the ante a bit.
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ICYMI, Jones signed a five-year deal for a total of $60 million with $35 guaranteed, making him for the moment the highest-paid strong safety in the NFL. The deal came on the same day Baltimore signed former Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson to a four-year deal worth up to $36 million.
Chancellor had been essentially tied with Jones at the top of the strong safety pay scale last season, each making basically $7 million a season (granted, there are other ways to rate contracts, but that comparison seems to fairly accurately portray that each had pretty similar deals).
That the strong safety market hadn’t changed in a while and Chancellor was still at the top of it was one reason relations between Chancellor and the team smoothed out last year after his 2015 holdout. The team was able to accurately tell Chancellor that he was not underpaid in terms of his position.
But with the contracts of Jones and Jefferson that is no longer the case — Chancellor is due to make $8.1 million in 2017 in the concluding year of a four-year, $28 million deal he signed in the spring of 2013.
And Chancellor can compare resumes with Jones and make a case he deserves at least as much, if not more.
The two are basically the same age — Jones born on Feb. 28, 1988 and Chancellor on April 3, 1988. Each also entered the NFL the same year, and in fact in the same round, Chancellor taken in the fifth round at 133 overall and Jones later in that round at 163 overall.
While many considered Jones the best strong safety in the NFL in 2015, that’s the only year he’s made the Pro Bowl — Chancellor has been named to four.
And if you’re talking health, Chancellor has played in 100 games with 84 starts (with two of the misses due to a holdout) while Jones has played in 94 with 80 starts, missing 10 games last year due to a rotator cuff issue.
So it’s hard to imagine that from Chancellor’s standpoint, any extension talks won’t start with wanting to use Jones’ contract as a base starting point.
And as Joel Corry noted, if Chancellor were to really get a deal like that, then the Seahawks might have an issue with Earl Thomas, who has two years remaining on a contract he signed in the spring of 2014 that averages $10 million a season.
All of which are items on the future to-do list that the team has to be cognizant of now as it navigates the opening stages of free agency.