As had been reported as possible yesterday, key strong safety Kam Chancellor did not report to Seahawks training camp today as required.
All other players -- including defensive end Michael Bennett, another defender who wants more money -- were present at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton on the eve of Friday morning’s first training-camp practice.
On Wednesday Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Chancellor “wants more money” and may hold out from training camp to get it.
That’s right. The night before camp begins, in the middle of the team trying one final time to get a tricky contract extension done for franchise quarterback Russell Wilson -- with Bennett complaining about his cash one year into a four-year deal, Bruce Irvin irked Seattle didn’t pick up his option for next year and All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner also needing an extension that may cost at least $10 million per year -- here’s another issue for the Seahawks. This one is with their thudding, hugely popular and productive strong safety.
Yet another reason why no team since the 1990-93 Buffalo Bills of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and pals have done what Seattle is trying to do: reach three consecutive Super Bowls. That was a year before the NFL instituted its first salary cap -- and changed forever teams’ abilities to keep core players happy for years and years.
Chancellor still has three seasons and $16.45 million in base salaries remaining on the four-year extension he signed in April 2013. All of his $4.45 million salary for this coming season is guaranteed. His base pays of $5.1 million for 2016 and $6.8 million for ‘17 are not guaranteed, and that could be the source for this flare today. He turned 27 in April, which of course isn’t ancient. But with his hard-hitting style and the myriad injuries he’s been having -- a hip surgery before last season, bone spurs in his feet for which he contemplated surgery last September, balky ankles and knees, then a medial-collateral ligament injury two days before February’s Super Bowl for which he avoided surgery -- Chancellor is likely seeking Marshawn Lynch-like, additional guaranteed money while he can.
Chancellor is also perhaps the most respected player inside the Seahawks’ locker room. The team’s 2014 season took off from a 6-4, middling concern into a 12-4 finish, another NFC West title and the conference’s top playoff seed for the second consecutive year only after Chancellor uncharacteristically stood in front of the team just before kickoff of a key November home game against Arizona and gave what teammate K.J. Wright called probably the best, most-fiery and impassioned pregame speech he’s ever heard.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider has for years made it a policy not to renegotiate deals that have multiple years left on them. He made something of an exception before last season by adding more guaranteed money to get Lynch into training camp a week late.
That crack in the GM’s door is what Chancellor may be seeking to push through here.
The Seahawks have about $9.3 million remaining under the 2015 salary cap, with Wilson and Wagner still priorities 1 and 2. That wouldn’t appear to leave more than a couple nickels left for anyone else right now.
If Chancellor is not on the field for Friday morning’s practice, the Seahawks can fine him up to $30,000 for each practice missed in training camp.