The Seahawks are on the field for the 11th practice of training camp here in Renton. It’s the 11th practice Kam Chancellor has skipped in his contract holdout.
“He has dug his heels in,” coach Pete Carroll said this morning on Seattle’s 950 KJR AM.
The Seahawks could fine Chancellor a maximum of $590,000 and counting per the league’s collective bargaining agreement. But waiving those fines are about the only carrot the team has to offer him. Seattle has just over $4.8 million left under this year’s salary cap. Only three teams – the Giants, Lions and Saints – have less cap room, and the Seahawks’ amount barely covers any contingencies they would need to replace an injured starter with an established veteran free agent in the future.
Carroll reiterated to KJR “we love Kam.” He said the team led by general manager John Schneider remains “very active” in trying to get its thumping strong safety and team leader into camp.
Chancellor, 27, is taking his stand wanting more than the $4.55 million in base salary – with $4.45 million of that guaranteed – he is currently scheduled to earn in 2015. He has two more years beyond this one remaining on the $28 million extension he signed before the 2013 season as one of Seattle’s first home-grown, “core” players to get new deals. He is scheduled for base salaries of $5.1 million in 2016 and $6.8 million in ‘17, but those pays are not guaranteed. For a player who plays as physically and is injured as often as Chancellor has been throughout his previous five seasons, not guaranteed is not a football life he wants to live.
The Seahawks’ position, as Schneider has repeatedly recited, is they don’t renegotitate deals that have more than one year remaining on them, and certainly not three. But this time last summer Chancellor was sweating through camp practices while running back Marshawn Lynch held out for eight days. Seattle’s star and the NFL’s rushing leader since 2011 eventually extracted from the Seahawks an additional $1.5 million in up-front guarantees last year, money that Lynch had been scheduled to earn in future years.
That’s the crack in Schneider’s door Chancellor appears to be trying to exploit with this holdout.
Carroll today on KJR radio acknowledged the Lynch situation and potentially future ones with players who have already stated they are unhappy with their contracts such as defensive end Michael Bennett are a factor in Chancellor’s impasse. But Carroll added that there’s only one Marshawn Lynch – and only one Kam Chancellor.
For now, second-year man Dion Bailey has risen from injured at the start of camp to the No. 1 strong safety filling Chancellor’s place in the middle of the NFL’s top-ranked defense.