Clayton: While pricey, Chancellor’s extension made sense for Seahawks
RENTON – The Legion of Boom will have its boom for at least the next two years.
Kam Chancellor agreed to a three-year, $36 million extension that keeps the core members of the Seahawks’ secondary under contract at least through the next two seasons. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman are signed through 2018. Jeremy Lane is signed through 2019.
Including Lane’s contract, the Seahawks already had more than $37 million of 2017 cap space tied up in their top four defensive backs. But you could hear the relief in the organization from coach Pete Carroll to the players once the news came out Tuesday about Chancellor’s extension.
Sure, paying $12 million a year to a hard-hitting safety whose body could break down at any given time might sound adventurous, but it made sense. Chancellor remains one of the best strong safeties in football. Maybe his body might not be able to make it through all 16 games during the regular season, but the Seahawks now have options behind him if needed. They could go to free-agent addition Bradley McDougald or rookie third-round pick Delano Hill if Chancellor has to miss time with an injury.
Extending Chancellor gives the Seahawks the option of keeping the face of this team – its secondary – together for at least two more runs at the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks showed how highly they think of Chancellor by giving him a contract that ranks near the top of the pay scale at the position. Kansas City’s Eric Berry tops the list at $13 million a year. Chancellor and Miami’s Reshad Jones are now tied for third among NFL safeties in annual average.
Part of Chancellor’s value is his leadership. In a locker room that has plenty of alpha males, Chancellor is the one voice that both veteran and young players hear when he speaks.
“First, you have to lead by example, and he definitely does that,’’ Thomas said Tuesday. “He’s very aware out there. He’s watching the number twos, the number three’s, even us [the veterans], and just his wisdom that he spreads within the group.”
You could hear in Chancellor’s voice a sense of relief that his deal was done and that he has more job security. The Seahawks drafted four defensive backs this year, including two safeties in Hill and Tedric Thompson. They also signed McDougald. Considering the Seahawks had second-round grades on the four DBs they drafted, Chancellor had to wonder whether a replacement was waiting to take his job in the next year.
That won’t happen with this deal.
“I thought that, Kam, it’s time to do a lot of coaching,’’ Chancellor said about Seattle drafting four defensive backs. “You know, a lot of new guys coming in and it’s time to put the coaching hat on. The system is the system. It’s the same system it’s been the whole time. It’s really not anything new to me. From me developing my fundamentals and [sharpening] my skills and learning what offenses are trying to do to us as well as learning my skills. But also, coaching helps me learn more and more, little by little.
“Things that I don’t see, things that I catch on from year to year. So helping guys coming in now, the guys behind us, the young guys coming in, the guys who’ve come from other teams. I think it’s just another step to the process of me evolving to a better player.”
The Seahawks lead the league with seven players making at least $10 million a year. Tight end Jimmy Graham’s contract is up at the end of the year, but he’s already making $10 million. The next player who might get the big bump would be center Justin Britt. The top of the center market just went to $10.3 million, which might be hard to fit in the Seahawks’ future salary cap.
But with Chancellor’s extension, the Seahawks took care of a player who has helped make them a Super Bowl contender.
Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.