Kam Chancellor was again a holdout on Thursday. Here's a look at some possible options for getting him back into camp.
The Seahawks are just about to take the field for practice number six of training camp here Thursday morning at the VMAC. And once again, they will do so without safety Kam Chancellor, whose holdout continues.
It does so with increasing signs that it could take later rather than sooner to get something done, including this tweet this morning from ESPN’s Josina Anderson who reports that a source says it could last into the regular season.
It’s exceedingly rare for holdouts to actually go into the regular season and it would probably still be a real surprise if this one did. But it’s a sign of how “messy,” the word one source used recently to the Times to describe it, this situation is.
Since Chancellor has three years left on his contract, the Seahawks have no desire to set a precedent caving in to Chancellor. Chancellor, obviously, is hoping to get something and the longer he sits out, the more of an incentive there is to want to make the holdout have been worth it.
A year ago, when Marshawn Lynch held out, he already had an offer on the table from the Seahawks. Ultimately, he took that offer from Seattle to end his hold out after a week and report, allowing each side to feel like it got something — Lynch an additional $1.5 million guaranteed, the Seahawks the ability to say they didn’t give in to Lynch’s hold out but instead merely gave him a deal that was already on the table.
So what can the Seahawks do for Chancellor?
Adding to the complication is that unlike in Lynch’s deal, Chancellor’s contract does not have any roster bonuses the next two years that the team could easily convert to guaranteed money, which was at the heart of what the Seahawks did for Lynch.
But Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who now writes about salary cap issues for CBSSports.com, said there are still some possible solutions.
One option, Corry said, would be for the Seahawks to take some of Chancellor’s base salaries of 2016 ($5.1 million) and 2017 ($6.8 million) and guarantee some of them on the first day of the new league year “so that he is safer sooner rather than later.” That, Corry says, would help appease some of what may be at play here — Chancellor’s concern that the team might just release him before one of those seasons when his cap number begins to increase markedly ($6.1 million in 2016 and $8.1 million in 2017).
Another would be for the Seahawks to restructure Chancellor’s contract similarly to what the Vikings just did for Adrian Peterson in which they increased the am0unt of guaranteed money while decreasing the base salaries and cap hit, allowing each side to proclaim a victory of some sort. That method, however, poses some risk for the player in the future but does guarantee more money in the present.
Corry, though, says if he were the Seahawks, he wouldn’t do anything, which might seem a surprising admission from a former agent. Corry says as a former agent he’s not “a sanctity of the contract kind of guy.” But he says the Seahawks have no reason to do anything for Chancellor given that the market for strong safeties hasn’t changed since he signed his deal in the spring of 2013, and all the problems that cold be created by giving in.
“I don’t think they should give him one penny more than he is already making,” Corry said. “Nothing has really changed in the market since he signed, so he’s out of line.”
Corry also elaborated on the issue with giving in to Chancellor.
“Suppose someone goes out and gets a surprising safety or cornerback deal this year and then you are going to have Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman coming back and saying ‘hey, redo me like you redid Kam.’ You can’t redo anything for him,” Corry said.
“And one thing they need to do to nip this stuff in the bud in the future is enforce some of the fine, if not all of it, and take back the signing bonus because you have to have a deterrent. Because they waived the fines for Marshawn, even though the deal he took was on the table before the holdout, the perception to the players is that he got something out of the holdout and then they didn’t enforce the fine. So that’s the problem. They have sort of emboldened players to test them.”
Chancellor could be fined by the team up to $210,000 now for missing seven days of camp, and the team can also now ask to recoup 15 percent of his $1 million signing bonus for this season, or $150,000.
Because there suddenly appears to be lots of tough talk on coming from both sides, the perception of this situation suddenly seems a lot more dire.
Corry, though, said that also is typical and that he wouldn’t reach much into it, noting the team surely isn’t too worried a veteran such as Chancellor is missing a few practices right now.
“Usually there is a lull where the team will test the player’s resolve,” Corry said. “But they really don’t need Kam right now. I’m assuming he’s working out diligently in the anticipation of some resolution and there’s really nothing for him to worry about until after the third preseason game at the earliest. If there’s no news for a little while I wouldn’t read anything into it besides that being the norm.”