SEATTLE – You know that Seahawks fans, regardless of their reverence for the man, can’t be pleased with Kam Chancellor’s contract. He hasn’t played since the middle of the 2017 season, won’t likely take the field again, yet he collected $6.8 million last season and nabbed another $5.2 million in guaranteed money for 2019.
This is what prompted former NFL agent Joel Corry to dub Chancellor’s deal the Worst Contract-Year Extension award for a team in last year’s NFL Contract Awards for CBSSports.com
As for Chancellor himself? The deal was nothing short of brilliant.
When the popular Seahawk strong safety held out for the first two games of the 2015 season, his plan seemed either selfish or misguided or both. It was a major waste of time that might have cost his team two wins, as the Seahawks – owning all the leverage – refused to budge.
But this one was shrewd. This one was savvy. And though Chancellor could open up some cap space for Seattle if he were to officially retire, nobody can blame him for taking every dollar he can get.
I’ve defended management in previous contract controversies, even if they appear to treat players like disposable commodities. Voices such as Richard Sherman’s have bemoaned the fact that they can be cut instantly regardless of length of their deals, but the brass assumes a risk, too.
Michael Bennett? Marshawn Lynch? Those signings backfired on the Seahawks and probably contributed to their reluctance to extend Earl Thomas before last season began. But if a player can negotiate to get the kind of injury-related guarantees Chancellor got, you should applaud when it works out for him in the end.
Kam’s deal disallowed them from cutting him last year to save cap money, so he got every bit of his $6.8 million in base salary. His deal also disallowed them from cutting him this year, so as of Friday, $5.2 million of his $10 million in base was fully guaranteed.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Russell Wilson’s next contract and whether it might be worth taking less money for the sake of the team. It’s what Tom Brady does regularly, and his legacy (and possibly his bank account) has benefited from the smaller checks.
But this is a different situation with Kam. He’s not a guy who’s already pocketed more than $90 million for his career. He’s not someone deciding between earning $100 million and $140 million for his next deal. He’s not someone who will be flooded with endorsement opportunities after his retirement the way Wilson will.
Chancellor likely won’t play again and probably won’t have the chance to pocket this kind of cash again. He’s right to take every penny.
As much as it sounds like the players enjoy Chancellor’s company, I’m sure the brass would be just fine with him officially calling it quits. As Corry told my colleague Bob Condotta last week, the Seahawks just never had many options when it came avoiding a cap hit with Chancellor.
But in the most violent team sport in the world, that’s just fine. We’ve seen player after player go down with a career-altering injury and lose their livelihood as a result. There’s a reason NFL contracts are seen as the most owner-friendly in sports, so when a guy such as Kam gets his dough, good on him.
If fans are upset with management for signing off on this contract, that’s understandable. Obviously, it was tough to envision an injury of this magnitude, but third contracts have had a tendency to burn the Seahawks in the past.
But nobody should be upset with Kam. He’s been laying out big hits his whole career. If he lays one on the salary cap, so be it.
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