Will the Seahawks extend the contract of founding Legion of Boom member Kam Chancellor this off-season? Here's an overview of his situation as he heads into the final year of his contract in 2017.
Here is the second in our look at three key Seahawks who could be considered for contract extensions in the off-season.
Current contract: Chancellor, who completed his seventh season with the team in 2016, is entering the final season of a four-year deal signed in the spring of 2013 that will pay him $8.125 million overall in 2017. His contract includes $1 million in dead money, meaning that if Seattle were to release Chancellor it could save $7.125 million against the cap.
According to OvertheCap.com, Chancellor’s salary cap value for 2017 is the sixth-highest among all safeties (teammate Earl Thomas is fourth at $10.4 million) while the $7.125 in cash he is due next year (he has already received $1 million in pro-rated bonus money) is the fourth-highest (Thomas is second at $8.5 million). He also has a $325,008 roster bonus next season paid out weekly for each game he is active.
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Burning question: Will Chancellor’s 2015 holdout loom over negotiations on a new deal?
When Chancellor held out all of training camp and missed the first two games of the 2015 season — which helped result in an 0-2 start and a hole the team never really did climb out of — it was tempting to wonder if the relationship between the two sides had been damaged forever.
But a meeting between Chancellor and the team following last season — when he was assured he had nothing to worry about in terms of his status for 2016 — appeared to mend all fences.
Chancellor was again voted a team captain by the players for this season and coach Pete Carroll has spoken glowingly of not only his performance on the field but leadership off of it this season.
“We love Kam,’’ Carroll said Monday. “He’s a significant part of everything that goes on around here. I was so proud of him when we were done, for all the leadership he brought us in such a magnificent way, coming out of whatever happened last year and to turn things around and really be all in and the epitome of what leadership is all about.’’
Chancellor missed four games this season with a groin injury, during which time the Seahawks went 2-1-1. That Chancellor has missed seven games due to injury the last two seasons might concern some as he gets set to turn 29 in April.
But when healthy, he was generally as vital as ever.
“He had a really solid year, he played really good football,’’ Carroll said. “Very few plays got away from him during the course of the year. He had a lot of good stuff happen, was really physical throughout. He had his health, he had that one little setback in there, but he had his health for the most part and finished really strong. I thought he played terrific for us.”
What kind of contract could Chancellor get?
Here is an assessment from Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com: “Chancellor is a little harder (to gauge) because he clearly wanted to be the highest paid safety at one point and I can’t see how that makes sense,’’ His comparison is going to be Malcolm Jenkins in Philadelphia who is 29. Jenkins got $8.7 million per year on a four-year extension with $16 million guaranteed at signing. So I’d guess the target for him is $9 million a year. Maybe a touch higher (like $9.1 million or 9.05 million) to pass New Orleans’ Jairus Byrd and Mark Barron of the Los Angeles Rams, but that should be the range.’’
Will a deal get done?
A year ago, the answer might well have been no.
But with the way Chancellor played this season, his stature in the locker room and the team’s win-now mentality, it would seem likely something would get done.
Of those the team has considered core players, Seattle has generally been aggressive about getting something done before the player enters his walk year. Given the history with Chancellor, it would seem the Seahawks would want to avoid any speculation and head off what would be endless questions about his future.
His durability could be a concern and might mean a shorter deal, or one in which the cap hits are significantly backloaded, giving the team some wiggle room (recall that’s been thought one reason Chancellor held out was a concern of the team possibly releasing him before the final year or two of his current contract, which did not include any guaranteed money).
At some point, the team will have to make hard decisions with players who not only have been considered part of the core, but also were part of it from the beginning.
But if the Seahawks really consider themselves as “right in the middle of it,’’ as Carroll said this week, then it’s hard to imagine Chancellor — not just a founding member of the Legion of Boom but as important as any player has been to the rise of the team under Carroll —- not being there with them for the next few seasons.