Seahawks Kam Chancellor a Possible Holdout?

According to the NFL’s Ian Rapoport, Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks is reportedly unhappy with his contract and considering the option of holding out in order to get a raise. Chancellor had signed a $7 million per year contract extension in 2013 and this is technically just the second year of the four year extension, which runs through 2017.  Chancellor is the second player unhappy with his contract in Seattle (Michael Bennett is the other) and the third looking for a raise (along with Russell Wilson).

Teams rarely renegotiate contracts for veteran players with multiple years remaining, especially those  with more than two years. My feeling is that Seattle may have set a bad precedent last season with Marshawn Lynch, who threatened a hold out with two years remaining on his contract. Lynch was deemed very important to the Seahawks offense and quickly the Seahawks gave Lynch a small raise of $1 million. Lynch had two years remaining on his contract when he considered holding out.

When Chancellor signed his contract in 2013, it was a fair contract for the time.  If I remember correctly, his deal ranked fourth among veteran players in annual value, behind Dashon Goldson, Eric Weddle, and Antrel Rolle.  He still ranks 7th among veteran players and first among “second” safeties (second highest compensated on the team), so in that respect they are paying him a pretty high number.

His contract now has fallen behind that of teammate Earl Thomas, Devin McCourty, Jairus Byrd, and Reshad Jones in addition to the Weddle and Goldson deals. At the time he signed the latter two deals were considered top of the market at about $8 million per year. If Chancellor was led to believe (or simply believed) that this was going to around the market rate as the next group of safeties signed a contract he likely considered himself to be worth 80-85% of the top of the market, clearly being a 1A to Thomas’ eventual 1 status.

However, by the next year those top salaries exploded and the Seahawks eventually extended Thomas at $10 million a year, bringing Chancellor from 85% of the market to 70%, which is a big drop in one season. Considering Thomas is on the Seahawks, in terms of salary disparity that drops Chancellor in the internal pecking order from a 1A to a clear 2. So that may be a cause for concern.

If Chancellor fails to report for a few days he can be subject to fines and bonus forfeiture.

  • McGeorge

    A team can’t give into that behavior, otherwise it encourages more such behavior.

  • tarantula13

    Does the distinction between strong safety or free safety matter when it comes to these types of contracts?

    • Derek

      Yes, free safety is more difficult to find and more expensive. It’s similar to the difference between ILBs and OLBs.

  • Ghoston

    My guess is Free Safeties make more than Strong Safeties.

  • NW86

    Agreed, they set a bad precedent by giving Lynch a raise last year and essentially another one this year (this one was called an extension, but nobody expects him to play out the extension, really he got a raise in the form of his “signing bonus”). It would be even worse if they caved into Bennett or Chancellor, you can’t have players signing a contract and then holding out for a raise 1 year into it. If so, you might as well just sign 1 year contracts.

  • eddiea

    I’ve enjoyed watching Chancellor since HS and VT,but just as he was found in 4th rnd his replacement can be found in a similar way. But,with him being a valued member if LoB,something could possibly be worked out. Especially with him being the only healthy and reliable one. Only thing he’ll have to wait until Wilson is signed by then he’ll have one season left on contract and Lynch will be gone,freeing up more money. Bennett,tell him he should’ve gone to Bears to be w/bro.

  • Matt

    I hate it when someone says Lynch got a “raise”. He didn’t get a single dollar of new money. They simply guaranteed money he was already scheduled to make. That’s not a raise, that’s an advance.

    Secondly, comparing Chancelor’s contract as a strong safety to a bunch of free safeties is disingenuous. He is the highest paid strong safety in the NFL based on his average salary, so HE SET THE MARKET FOR HIS POSITION, now he wants to paid like a different position?

    If you are a run stuffing defensive end, you don’t get to ask for JJ Watt money just because you play the “same position”.

  • Good article and I agree, the Marshawn Lynch “raise” did set a precedent. I’m a big Kam Chancellor fan, but I’m surprised at how he feels it’s okay to sign a contract then decide he’s not going to abide by the terms. If Kam holds out for ten games (heard this today), then what does that mean to him financially, beyond fines? Also, if he held out that long, then returns to play, would or could the Seahawks bench him? If so, what would his salary be? Could they bench him next year also? It’s a very troubling situation.