It's mailbag time again. Will Kam Chancellor be able to play this season? What happens to Malik McDowell, who sat out last season after an ATV accident? And what position might George Fant play? Bob Condotta answers all these questions.
It may be summer vacation time for the Seahawks. But the mailbag here is always open.
So without further adieu (or really, much of any at all) on to the questions.
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A: No specific date was ever offered by the Seahawks, so “June” was all we got. I’d imagine the team will know as soon as Chancellor does. How soon the public will know is another matter (the Seahawks aren’t going to rush to tell anyone).
But the team has been preparing for a while now as if it will not have Chancellor this season and that seems to be the general feeling around the team, that for now he likely won’t be available in 2018, if ever. If he does get cleared, there’s also the chance the team the releases Chancellor and gets out from under his contract, which includes $12 million in injury guarantees over the next two seasons.
Waiving Chancellor now wouldn’t do much good for 2018, as the team is on the hook for $9.3 million in dead money. But it would mean the team wouldn’t have to worry about the $5.2 million in injury guarantees for the 2019 season if Chancellor were to be hurt again.
For now, with Chancellor not cleared, the team can’t waive him without being on the hook for the injury guarantees.
Given that the team has already guaranteed Chancellor’s $6.8 million salary in 2018 the Seahawks could hang on to him and see if he can make it back to playing status. But it’s worth remembering there’d be some work there to get that done even if scans were to come back saying he could be cleared to play. Chancellor hasn’t done anything football related since he was injured on Nov. 9 and wasn’t with the team during the offseason program. So expectations should probably be muted for what Chancellor’s football future holds regardless of what the tests show.
A: I get this question an awful lot. It’s worth remembering that there was only ever one report that McDowell was set to be released soon — that from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Rapoport wrote in April then that the Seahawks were “expected” to release McDowell in the “near future,” a phrase that can be open to a lot of interpretation (and by the way, none of this is meant to question Rapoport’s report, just to note that it was his report that then led to lots of other stories that all cited his report, and to note exactly what it was that he said). All the team said was that it was weighing all options on McDowell.
As I wrote in April, former NFL agent Joel Corry noted there are some unknowns to what is exactly in McDowell’s contract that likely could be dragging things out. Specifically, the Seahawks could have withheld some of his bonus money, something McDowell might fight (and that there could be things that could end up before an arbitrator is one reason there has been a lot of silence on things related to McDowell). In other words, the team is likely waiting to make sure every I is dotted and T is crossed before making any roster move with McDowell.
What’s most relevant is that no one expects McDowell to play for the Seahawks, something that the timing of any roster move won’t change.
The Seahawks sent the strongest signal possible of that when they gave his roster number, 94, to third-round pick Rasheem Green.
A: To clarify, Fant did not do any onfield work during OTAs or minicamp. He was there for every workout, and sometimes mimicked what the others were during at a pretty low speed. But he did not take any actual reps.
But yes, the team has said several times Fant will start out this season at right tackle after playing last season at left tackle, where he was the starter before suffering an ACL injury in the second preseason game on Aug. 18.
The team expects Fant to be ready for training camp, though he’d likely be eased back on a limited basis the first few days as is the typical course for anyone coming off a significant injury.
At right tackle, the team hopes Fant can push Germain Ifedi, the 2016 first-round pick who had some notable issues in 2017 but who for now the team is sticking with as its presumptive starting right tackle (with one thought that he will be a better fit in the scheme of new offensive line coach Mike Solari — which to put it most simply will emphasize more man blocking than zone blocking).
Duane Brown is safely in place as the left tackle, where the backup throughout OTAs most often appeared to be Isaiah Battle. Rookie sixth-round pick Jamarcus Jones also got a lot of work at left tackle.
Also potentially in the mix as a tackle is Rees Odhiambo, who has played both tackle and guard in his two years with the Seahawks, though he most likely figures to be used as a guard.
Seattle will keep at least one backup tackle but could keep two depending on roster construction. As of now, Fant would seem likely to be the third tackle, and as such, on gameday he would have to be ready to play either side, if needed, a common role for any backup. And that’s obviously another reason to get him experience at right tackle in camp after he played left tackle last season.