O’Neil: Kam Chancellor extension’s completes his incredible comeback with the Seahawks
Strong safety Kam Chancellor just completed one of the biggest comebacks in the history of Seattle sports.
Not quite as improbable as erasing a 12-point deficit in the final 3:52 of that NFC Championship Game against Green Bay, but close.
Two years ago, Chancellor was so adamant in his demand for a new contract that he held out not just for all of training camp, but two regular-season games. It cost him more than $1 million in fines and unpaid wages. It cost the team during an 0-2 start.
On Tuesday, he signed a contract extension that had been discussed for months, with ESPN’s Josina Anderson reporting that it’s a three-year deal worth $36 million with $25 million of that total guaranteed.
But this is one time that it’s not the size of the deal that requires some perspective, but the fact that the deal even happened.
It is nothing short of incredible. Guys don’t get over feeling underpaid. Teams don’t move on from a player being so stubborn that he misses games.
To put it in terms that Seattle will understand, Shawn Kemp never stopped being raging angry at the SuperSonics for signing Jim McIlvaine, and when it came time for him to sign a new deal, well, he preferred getting traded to Cleveland as opposed to staying here. Think about that for a second.
And yet Chancellor made a decision at some point last year: He wanted to be a Seahawk more than he wanted a new contract. He decided that he wasn’t just going to honor his contract, but he was going to resume the leadership role that he held during Seattle’s back-to-back Super Bowl runs.
Here was Pete Carroll on Chancellor’s extension: pic.twitter.com/SPvZiO78lL
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) August 1, 2017
Chancellor deserves a ton of credit for making that decision. Almost every player I’ve encountered would be too stubborn, too prideful to decide to re-commit to a team that had refused to blink in a stare-down.
Russell Wilson is the most important player on this Seahawks roster and Richard Sherman is certainly the loudest, but Chancellor is this team’s soul.
And he chose to remain a Seahawk. That decision was made more than a year before this formal agreement on an extension, and that decision he made should be not just acknowledged but also celebrated here in Seattle.
The team’s calculus on this one is a little bit different, and we’ll have to see what the structure of this deal is to understand how it fits into the team’s payroll going forward. But coming on the heels of extensions for Marshawn Lynch in 2015 and Michael Bennett at the end of the 2016 season, it shows that Seattle is going to treat its veteran stars like turnips and squeeze them until they bleed.
But more than anything, it shows that it is possible to find a middle ground. Which is truly remarkable when you consider where the two sides were two years ago.