Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 10, S Kam Chancellor
During each show until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is counting down the 20 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. The countdown continued with strong safety Kam Chancellor. The segment on Chancellor is embedded above. Brent Stecker’s thoughts are below.
Kam Chancellor is a four-time Pro Bowler, the most fearsome member of the original Legion of Boom, and one of the more important figures of the Pete Carroll-era Seahawks. But he’s also entering his eighth season, is 29 years old, and has struggled to stay healthy over the past few seasons, giving plenty of reason to wonder if his hard-hitting style has started to take its toll. After all, Chancellor had offseason surgery on not just one but both of his ankles to remove painful bone spurs, and injury concerns are why there’s any question whatsoever about the Seahawks signing him to an extension. The four-year, $28 million deal he signed after the 2013 season ends after 2017, and there is no guarantee the Seahawks are going to get him signed to a new contract before he hits free agency next offseason. The fact that Seattle focused on secondary pieces – including Michigan strong safety Delano Hill – in the draft in April provides further intrigue into whether or not this will be Chancellor’s last season with the Seahawks, though the team has indicated its serious about keeping Chancellor around (more on that later).
By the numbers
Nine. The number of games that Chancellor has missed over the past two seasons. Chancellor missed five games in 2015, the first two of which were part of a holdout that lasted started in training camp, lasted the whole preseason and continued into the regular season. Before that point, Chancellor had missed just one game in his first four seasons with the Seahawks, but considering how physical Chancellor plays, it was predictable that he would have a hard time keeping on the field as time went on. That was the case last season as he missed four straight games early on with a groin injury.
$13 million. That’s the average annual salary for Kansas City’s Eric Berry, per OverTheCap.com, making him the highest-paid strong safety in the NFL. Chancellor held that mantle when he first signed his current contract with the Seahawks, but when safety contracts skyrocketed past him in the ensuing seasons he reacted with his well-publicized holdout. Even though he didn’t get the new deal in 2015 he was hoping for, he was committed enough to stay at home into the season. He and the Seahawks have obviously patched up any differences stemming from that time, but it offers a window into the psyche of a man of extreme principle. You better believe that will show up in 2017, a season of great incentive for a player coming off surgery and looking to secure another lucrative contract.
With the way the Seahawks are built, they frankly need Chancellor to return to form to be the kind of defense they want to be. “When he is out there, this team is different,” Brock Huard said. And Chancellor is just half of a two-part equation for Seattle, which also needs free safety Earl Thomas by Chancellor’s side to keep things in order. Chancellor and Thomas are still arguably the best safety combination in the NFL, but they’re both returning from offseason surgery. Thomas’ injury was coincidentally the result of friendly fire as he broke his leg in a collision with Chancellor in the Seahawks’ 11th game of 2016, meaning Seattle has two star defensive players making comebacks in their eighth seasons. “When (Chancellor) and Earl are out there working their thing … they stifle run games, they intimidate passers, they close the windows in the zone passing scheme,” Huard said, adding that there’s reason to have faith that can be the case again from Chancellor in 2017. “Can he be available, can he be durable, and can he be reliable? Because if he can and he plays anywhere near a complete season, this defense will be right there near the top – No. 1, quite possibly top – defense in the league.”
An extension hasn’t been signed yet, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last month it is a priority for the team. “We would very much like to work something out,” Carroll said. “We’re working at it and that’s really all we’ll say, but we are working at it with every intention of taking care of this business. It takes a while. These things take a while. His frame and our frame of mind is in a really good place and we’re gonna work hard to get something done.” That signals that the only thing standing in the way of Chancellor getting another payday is a potential injury, so the longer he stays healthy, the closer he is to getting another multi-year deal.
Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 20, WR Jermaine Kearse; No. 19, K Blair Walsh; No. 18, S Bradley McDougald; No. 17, RB Thomas Rawls; No. 16, DT Jarran Reed; No. 15, DE Frank Clark; No. 14, WR/KR Tyler Lockett; No. 13, WR Amara Darboh; No. 12, CB C.J. Prosise; No. 11, RT Germain Ifedi.