Clayton: Seahawks may want to let Kam Chancellor play out his deal

Jan 27, 2017, 6:05 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
Kam Chancellor is scheduled to count $8.125 million against the cap in 2017, the final year of his ...
Kam Chancellor is scheduled to count $8.125 million against the cap in 2017, the final year of his deal. (AP)

While it’s pretty easy to predict that the Seahawks will keep tight end Jimmy Graham because they need him, it will be interesting to see what the long-term plan is for strong safety Kam Chancellor.

His four-year, $28 million contract is expiring after the 2017 season and he’s scheduled to make $7.125 million. He will turn 29 in April and naturally he will be hoping for a contract extension. He’s a four time Pro Bowler and he’s coming off a nice season in which he was a Pro Bowl alternate.

The best guess is that the Seahawks will let him play through the season and see how healthy he is before making a long-term commitment. He has played 100 games in seven seasons.

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The Seahawks have to determine how his body can hold up into his early thirties. That’s why they can’t rush into a quick contract extension.

At 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds, Chancellor is a big force in the middle of the field. He can deliver the big hits and make the big plays. He’s also a great leader who is willing to speak up when times are bad and try to make sure young players give their best. Plus, when you think of the Seahawks’ secondary, Chancellor is the main thought. He’s the Boom in the Legion of Boom.

In 2015, Chancellor missed two games during an ill-advised holdout. The team didn’t budge to offer him a new contract. The Seahawks restrict extensions in the middle of deals because they have so many top players to fit into their salary cap. Plus, Chancellor was the highest paid strong safety in football at the time.

Unlike free safeties who are asked to roam the middle of the field like center-fielders in baseball and provide the last line of defense, strong safeties are asked to play closer to the line in order to help stop running attacks. Chancellor is perfect for the job. He hits hard. He’s smart. He’s also a great communicator. You can see in the games he misses, the Seahawks tend to have more communication errors and breakdowns in coverage.

You would figure if the Seahawks commit to him past 2017, it would be on a year-by-year basis because at some point all the hard hits will start to catch up to him. Chancellor has missed seven games due to injuries over the past two seasons. That number shouldn’t grow.

Perhaps the most interesting part of any future contract talks with Chancellor is that it will be a reflection of how open the organization feels its Super Bowl window is and how long the Seahawks believe they can remain contenders. The majority of the core group on defense is between the ages of 28 and 31.

As far as finances, if Chancellor is willing to stay around that $7 million-a-year mark, something could be done in contract talks. Kansas City’s Eric Berry has taken the strong safety market over $10 million a year, but for the most part it still tops out around $7 million.

At some point, though, the Seahawks will have to start thinking about his future replacement. Pete Carroll’s defense works the best with a safety like Chancellor. He’s still an important part of that group.

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

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