RENTON – One down, three to go.
Considered the No. 1 priority this offseason, according to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider, the team announced during a press conference Monday afternoon that strong safety Kam Chancellor had signed a four-year contract extension.
Chancellor still had a year remaining at $1.3 million on his rookie contract.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is thought to add four years and $28 million for the 25-year-old, including $17 million guaranteed.
“Anything that happened other than being able to sign Kam was going to a bonus for us,” Schneider said. “It was our absolute No. 1 priority. We talked about it for a long time.”
Chancellor is the first of the Seahawks stellar quartet of defensive backs to get a new contract.
He is also the latest player the Seahawks have committed to bring back, joining Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant and Michael Robinson as core players re-signed during the Pete Carroll and Schneider administration.
Further, Chancellor, selected in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, is the first draft pick of the Carroll and Schneider regime signed to an extension.
“He’s been nothing but a positive influence on our program since the day he got here,” Carroll, the Seattle coach, said. “It took him a year to get ready to play on a full-time basis, but he made a big impact in his rookie season, as well as special teams when he had his opportunities.
“He is a leader. He’s a great football player. He’s a physical football player that plays in the vein that we want to play. He stands for toughness and being physical, and we love every bit about that.”
In his first season as a starter in 2011, the Virginia Tech product earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl by finishing second on the team in tackles (94) and interceptions (four).
At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Chancellor is active in stopping the run, and an enforcer in the back of the defense because of the hard licks he puts on receivers.
Chancellor was third on the team in tackles with 91 in 2012, though he was hobbled and needed surgeries on both ankles after the season to remove bone spurs.
“They kind of nagged me a little bit during the season,” he said. “But you’ll never play at 100 percent (health). So it’s (something) I took care (of) right as soon as the season was over.
“Right now I’m back running, moving, cutting and doing drills. So the process is going well right now, and I’m looking forward to playing.”
Chancellor played mostly special teams and came in when Seattle needed six defensive backs his first season (2010), backing up veteran safety and Tacoma native Lawyer Milloy.
He credited Milloy with showing him how to be a successful NFL safety.
“It helped me out a lot,” Chancellor said. “Like every rookie that comes in and thinks they can play his first year, I thought I could play my first year.
“Just the way he approached the game, he was a fierce competitor. Every time we stepped on that field he wanted to take somebody’s head off. He was always amped up. He gets you going … . So having a year behind him and just seeing a guy like that of that stature, I think it helped out a lot as a player.”
With Chancellor signed, Schneider can turn his attention to locking up the rest of the most talented secondary in the league.
Safety Earl Thomas still has two years to go on his rookie contract.
Because cornerback Richard Sherman was drafted under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Seahawks can’t begin negotiating a new deal with him until after the end of the 2013 season.
Cornerback Brandon Browner is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the coming season.
“It’s extremely important and we’d like to keep everybody together,” Schneider said. “All these negotiations take two sides to get these things figured out. These guys are a strong part of what we’re doing.”Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks