Five practices into Kam Chancellor’s holdout from Seahawks training camp, coach Pete Carroll gave the first indication he and the team’s front office are now impatient and perhaps perturbed at the strong safety’s continued absence.
When I asked Carroll following Wednesday’s practice if the holdout is now an issue of concern, the coach didn’t offer the verbal bouquet of how much the team needs and missing its leader on defense, as he had at the beginning of this week.
“It’s an issue of concern. It’s an issue of concern, particularly for Kam,” Carroll said with no expression. “We have to keep movin’, you know. And he knows. That’s what we are called to do.
“It’s a very difficult time for him, I think.”
When asked if he has any reason to believe Chancellor may report soon, Carroll indicated he hasn’t talked to him lately.
“There’s been no exchange to tell that,” Carroll said. “I’d love to talk to him. I haven’t talked to him” lately.
That’s a change from what he said last weekend, that he was messaging with Chancellor.
Chancellor wants more than the $4.45 million guaranteed in base pay he is due this season on his contract that runs through the 2017 season.
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, a team can fine a player a maximum of $30,000 for each day of training camp he misses. So Chancellor’s tab could now be $180,000 – though last year the Seahawks waived those fines as part of getting Marshawn Lynch to end his holdout after one week.
The Seahawks can also now begin, if they choose, to recover a portion of a Chancellor’s $5 million signing bonus he got in his $28 million contract extension before the 2013 season. Seattle can take back 15 percent of Chancellor’s $1 million proration for 2015 beginning today, the sixth day of camp (including Tuesday’s day off from practice).
The Seahawks can recover 1 percent for each additional day Chancellor skips beyond today, with a maximum of 25 percent of the prorated amount during training camp. That’s $250,000. The team can take back an additional 25 percent with the first missed regular-season game, if his holdout goes that long. And so on, up to a maximum fine of all his $1 million proration.
In summary: The Seahawks could, by CBA rule, almost double his fine from $180,000 to $300,000 starting today.
Maybe it’s more than a coincidence Carroll’s tone changed this afternoon.
This morning, general manager John Schneider was on Sirius/XM satellite radio . He began with the verbal love bouquet when talking about Chancellor’s situation:
“Shoot, we all love Kam. He is a phenomenal football player. Obviously a key for us and what are doing here defensively. I mean, the guy’s a monster over the middle and, you know, one of the strongest leaders that we have. And we all miss him. I think it’s just a bummer for everybody involved in the situation.”
But then Schneider referenced his oft-stated team policy of not renegotiating deals that have more than one year remaining. As we’ve talked here before, though, the Seahawks GM did move future money into $1.5 million in additional, up-front guarantees last year at this time to get Lynch into camp late. That may be the crack in Schneider’s door Chancellor is trying to go through here.
“You know, we’ve had a plan in place here for several years,” Schneider told SiriusXM. “Kam is one of the first players that we drafted (in 2010) that we were able to reward with one year left on his (rookie) contract. And, you know, it’s personal because you and you have so much emotional and personal feelings for the player, and at the end of the day you have to stick to your plan and your principles and that’s what has to guide you rather than, ‘We just love this guy and we have to ...’ It’s about the team, and it’s the ultimate team sport. And in order for us to be a consistent championship-caliber team that we’ve been preacher over the last, you know, ever since we got here we have to continue to conduct business the way we always have.”
About how things are going between Chancellor and his agent and Schneider, the GM told Sirius/XM: “There’s no animosity here. ... We’ve had good communication.”
Asked if he expected Chancellor to report to camp at this point, Schneider said: “I don’t know. I can’t tell you. From an expectation standpoint, I don’t have the answer to it.”