Has Kam Chancellor been receiving bad advice from his agent, Alvin keels? One reader thinks so.
BY BRIAN SULLIVAN
The Kam Chancellor holdout stinks. And I blame his agent, Alvin Keels.
Chancellor has obviously been receiving bad advice. He has no leverage in his current holdout and he stands to lose a lot of money. He’s also alienating himself from his teammates, increasing his risk of injury when he does return, and jeopardizing a legitimate shot at a third consecutive Super Bowl.
While I admire Keels for becoming a wealthy sports agent after jumping into the business, at age 21, without experience or a law degree, his bumbling mismanagement of our beloved strong safety is becoming quite destructive.
Two years ago, Keels, now in his mid-30s, advised Chancellor, who’d already established himself as a notoriously physical Pro Bowl safety, to sign a long-term contract with the Seahawks. At the time, Kam was happy: “I just feel great right now, the Seahawks organization has blessed me.” Of course, we all know he isn’t happy anymore.
Unlike many fans, I believe Chancellor is justified in his unrest; the common sentiment that “he’s making millions of dollars to play football, so he should just shut up and be happy” is ignorant and misses the point. He is somewhat underpaid now, in relative terms. But this holdout is idiotic. He should be upset with his agent, not the team.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider can’t give in without setting a precedent that would undermine the foundation of all current and future player contracts. It also would inhibit his ability to properly manage the salary cap. It’s not about the money. The Seahawks love and value Kam, but have to hold their ground.
A savvier agent would have known that a holdout wasn’t going to work and wouldn’t have allowed Chancellor to put himself in such a bad spot. A savvier agent also may have known what to expect from the market and gotten Chancellor a better deal in the first place, or a shorter deal to maximize future earning potential.
Because Keels lacked a traditional agent’s resume or academic credentials when he arrived on the NFL scene, he gained validation only through brokering lucrative contracts for his clients. In this case, however, he represents the biggest, baddest man in the best secondary in football and the contract he orchestrated has become average, which could be damaging to Keels’ professional credibility if the rest of the league sees it as underpayment for a player of Chancellor’s accomplishments. So, while I assume Keels has manipulated Kam into thinking this holdout is about getting the money and respect he deserves, I believe Keels’ true motivation may have more to do with his own reputation than what’s in Kam’s best interest.
Only through that warped lens does this ill-advised holdout make sense: Keels is willing to take a long-shot risk with Kam’s money, career, and team, because it’s the only possible way he can save face.
Ultimately, the decision belongs to Kam, but agents can have great influence over players, for better or worse. As a caddie on the PGA Tour, I see it regularly. Agents don’t care about teams or fans, and that’s fine. But I honestly believe Kam Chancellor cares about both, and that’s why I’m still clinging to hope that he cuts his losses and steps back in alongside his Legion of Boom brothers, where he belongs and where he’s needed.
Holdouts are always frustrating for fans, but the timing of this one is particularly cruel because it’s salt in our gaping Super Bowl wound. The catastrophic finale of Super Bowl XLIX traumatized all of us, and the best remedy for our pain will be to see the Seahawks on the field crushing opponents again. But, alas, one of our primary forces is AWOL.
If you’re like me, the Chancellor holdout is disheartening because you want to believe that the Seahawks have a brotherhood amongst teammates and a love for their fans that transcends the “me-first” money game of the NFL. I cringe when I think about how Kam’s holdout must make his teammates feel (many of whom are unhappy with their contracts, too). And I hate to think about how he has voluntarily abandoned Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman in the secondary. It just feels wrong. Who’s got their back?
Kam Chancellor has placed himself into a hopeless spot and his team misses him dearly. Heartbroken Seahawks fans have become collateral damage from an illogical attack of stubbornness. Let’s hope Kam stops listening to the wrong voices and comes back, sooner than later, to the team and the fans who love him.
Brian Sullivan lives in Bellingham, grew up in the Seattle area and graduated from the University of Washington in 1994. He has caddied on the PGA and Web.com golf tours since 1998.
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