Well, we’re a week into Training Camp, with no end in sight for the Kam Chancellor Hold Out Extravaganza. While I’m not happy or angry, I am concerned. It would seem to me – since the NFL holds all the cards, with all the fining they can do to a player who doesn’t show up for training camp – that if you’re truly going to be serious about holding out, you have to be willing to stick with it through the long haul. Right now, he’s just missing practices, but he’s a veteran and can easily make up the ground he’s losing by sitting these out. Next week, he’ll be missing pre-season games. In a month, it’ll be the regular season. He can only miss so many of THOSE games before he absolutely has to show up, or risk not accruing a year in his contract and having to do this all over again next year. For the record, I 99.999% doubt retirement is on the table like it was with Marshawn Lynch, so let that be the end of that tangent.
I’m concerned for a number of reasons. Primarily, I like Kam, and I want him to stay here for the duration of his football career. Besides that, I think our defense needs him more than people are willing to admit. Yeah, there’s that whole “enforcer” vibe that everyone likes to trot out, but I believe Kam is one of the more all-around talented safeties in the league, and I wouldn’t take any other strong safety over him (and precious few free safeties over him to boot). I don’t think this defense works as well as it does – tops in the NFL – without all of its parts working in harmony. And, especially this year, with all the uncertainty in our suddenly-thin secondary, we need our superstars now more than ever to step up and pick up the slack.
If you’ve read my stuff before, you know I’m generally pretty team-oriented when it comes to these matters. I root for the Seahawks before I root for any individual player. So, it usually irks me when guys hold out. I fully understand the nature of contracts in the NFL and how they’re not guaranteed, and how the teams don’t honor the deals, so why should the players be held to a different standard? I get all that. And, if I feel a player has a point, I might even sway my opinion his way. I was generally in favor of giving Marshawn Lynch SOMETHING when he was holding out, because he’s a special player, and I could picture him walking away from the game with no regrets.
Kam’s a special player too, and if all it takes is a little something – a minor concession – to get him back into camp, then by all means, get it done. It’s hard in this situation though, and I like Kam even MORE than I like Beastmode, but he’s got less than no leg to stand on here! For starters, he’s got three more years left on his deal. I’m sorry, but if you’re the type of person who’s going to be disgruntled about the status of your contract, then what the fuck are you doing signing a 4-year deal? These guys should make it their mission to sign nothing more than a 2-year deal, to always give themselves a little more leverage. Out-played your contract? Too bad! You shouldn’t have been so willing to cash in two years ago! No one forced you to sign for so many years!
Also, I’m literally looking at the list of all the safeties in the NFL and their contracts (the more-expensive free safeties lumped in with the generally-cheaper strong safeties), and while Earl Thomas is #1 in average salary per year at $10 million, Kam Chancellor is no slouch at #8 with a shade over $7 million. If you look at the total value of the contract, Kam still comes in at #10 (and you know damn well as long as he stays healthy, he’s going to see every dime of that deal and then some) with a little over $28 million. HE’S NOT MAKING CHUMP CHANGE! The thought of the disgruntled NFL player whining about money is an eternal turn-off when I compare it to myself and most of the rest of America who are getting by on peanuts compared to these athletes being paid multiple millions of dollars to play a child’s game. But, even when you compare Kam to other NFL players, he’s not disrespected in the slightest!
You can make a clear argument that someone like Russell Wilson was vastly out-playing his contract. You could even get by with the rationale that Beastmode – while still making a bundle – deserved to be paid among the top 2 running backs in the NFL. Because he IS either the best or second-best running back in the NFL. Would I say Kam is in the Top 10 of safeties in the NFL? Absolutely, but of course I’m biased. If you polled people in the know around the rest of the NFL, they might not have him rated quite so high. And that’s fine. But, would I consider Kam among the top 2 or 3 safeties in the NFL? Absolutely not, and I can’t stress enough how highly I think of this guy’s gifts on the football field.
Could you say Kam is better than some of the safeties getting more money on that list? Probably; I dunno. I’m not exactly Joe Safety over here, reading up extensively on all the best safeties in the NFL. Could you say he’s worth more than the $4.5 million in base salary he’s going to earn this year if he ever shows up? I guess, but tough shit. Again, no one forced you to sign an extension with one year left on your rookie deal. This is what you have to live with when you decide to cash in early; the team gets a little value, and the player gets some spending money. And, if you look at it, Kam’s base salary only goes up from here the next two years ($5.1 million in 2016 and up to a little over $7.1 million in 2017). If he plays well the next two years, I could see this team re-working his final year and extending him again for a nice chunk of change.
What’s wrong with earning your future deals? It beats the hell out of getting paid for past glory like in baseball. Yeah, injury is always a concern in the NFL, but if you weren’t an idiot, you’ve got money for the rest of your life! There is no reason why you should be hurting financially when all of this is over.
Seahawks, why not guarantee his 2016 salary and let’s all get to work, huh? This is silly.