All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor has been a huge part of the Seattle Seahawks’ back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Unfortunately, after watching several of his teammates get paid this summer, Chancellor is now locked in a bitter contract dispute.
The 27-year-old is certainly not holding out due to principle, but rather just because he thinks he’s severely underpaid at $4.55 million a year. However, there are two huge problems at play here:
1) Seattle only has $4.9 million in cap space left.
2) The team normally only negotiates contracts with players who are in their final year. Doing so with Chancellor, who’s signed until 2017, would break that policy.
Another issue that the talented safety has to deal with is all the money that he’s losing by not reporting to camp. Here’s a look at how the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta describes the situation:
“[T]he team can fine [Chancellor] for $30,000 for every day missed, so up to $330,000 at this point, along with the ability to recoup up to 25 percent of his signing bonus for this season (which as $1 million) if he misses all of training camp. The way that rule works is the team can ask to recoup 15 percent of his bonus after the sixth day and then one percent a day up to 25 percent. So, Chancellor would be subject to fines of up to $530,000 as of today. But fines are at team discretion and often waived once a player reports.”
The loss of money might not end with what Chancellor is missing out on now. If he doesn’t get a deal done by the start of the regular season, then he risks incurring more penalties. Just missing the first regular season game would mean that Seattle could recover up to 25% of his salary. Following four missed weeks, the Seahawks could recover 1/17 of the prorated amount of Chancellor’s earnings for every subsequent game.
Obviously there’s some incentive for him to report, given all the cash he’s losing. However, Seattle also has some incentive to reconsider because their other starting safety, Earl Thomas, is slowly recovering from an injury. If the Chancellor situation doesn’t get resolved soon, the team would trot out DeShawn Shead and Steven Terrell as starters – not exactly anchors of the the “Legion of Boom” defense.
Chancellor is definitely one of the cogs of this defense, and somebody that Seattle would love to coax back onto the field as quickly as possible. He’s racked up 375 tackles over the past four seasons along with 8 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles. The past two years he’s helped lead Seattle to a Super Bowl victory (2013-14) and another Super Bowl appearance. The Seahawks have their core back for the 2015-16 season and are once again primed for another excellent season. But a large part of this will require either offering Chancellor a new deal or convincing him to suit up anyways.