Draft’s over. Rookie minicamp is on the way.
So, hey, what’s up with that contract extension for Kam Chancellor?
Seahawks general manager John Schneider was asked that Tuesday on Seattle’s KJR-AM radio.
“I’d love to get into that with you,” Schneider told morning host Mitch Levy, “but I’m not going to.”
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Levy pressed the GM on when he would talk about getting a new deal done with his 29-year-old strong safety. Schneider said he would comment after it’s done — if, he added, there ends up being a new deal.
Despite Chancellor’s advancing age, his fruitless holdout in 2015 and injuries that have cost him games in recent seasons, it would be surprising if the Seahawks don’t settle on a new contract with him before the season begins in September.
There might be something of a locker-room revolt, or at least upheaval, if they didn’t.
Chancellor has been the soul of the defense and its starring secondary for most of the past six years. Plus, Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have said repeatedly this offseason that they want to “take care of” core guys, and Chancellor is certainly one of those.
In February, he had what the team characterized as “clean-up” surgeries for bone spurs in his ankles. It’s something he has had in previous offseasons. He is scheduled for $6.8 million in base pay and $325,008 in per-week roster bonuses during the 2017 season, with a salary-cap charge of $8,125,008. He’s wanted a new deal for two years and infamously held out for two months into the 2015 regular season in vain to get one.
Chancellor was the first player Carroll mentioned in his postgame press conference following January’s playoff loss at Atlanta as the foundation for the Seahawks’ strong leadership base. He is beloved among teammates for his intensity, wisdom and hard-hitting style.
Last weekend, the Seahawks drafted Michigan’s Delano Hill in the third round. He’s 6-1, 216 pounds and known as an aggressive tackler against the run.
“There’s no question (Hill) can play safety. We would say strong and free,” Carroll said Friday. “He looks more like a hitter. He’s really physical. Might be a little more like Kam’s style.
“So, we’ll see. (Hill’s) done everything their scheme showed, all of that, so it really was a good evaluation for us. We have a lot of hopes for this.”
In March at league’s scouting combine in Indianapolis — when, as it’s apparent, Schneider was obviously considering Hill — Schneider was asked how big a priority it is for the team to get Chancellor a new contract before the 2017 begins.
“We want to be able to take care of our team,” Schneider said then, “and obviously he is a huge part of that.”
With the Seahawks under Schneider, “taking care of” core guys has meant extending their contracts before they began playing the final seasons of their deals. A new deal likely would be for a more team-friendly cap number in 2017, with signing-bonus guarantees and a back-loaded deal beyond this year the Seahawks could easily shed if Chancellor’s performance and/or health decline into his early 30s.
Schneider also said on KJR Tuesday:
▪ He liked new Seahawks lineman Luke Joeckel last year with Jacksonville more as a left guard than left tackle.
▪ He believes Ethan Pocic, the LSU center who was Seattle’s second-round draft choice last weekend, “has the height to play right tackle.”
▪ He thinks third-round pick Shaquill Griffin “looks the part” of a new starting cornerback but of course must now prove it.
The Seahawks have been in contact with the NFL enough to know Trevone Boykin remains a backup quarterback — and not suspended by the league under its personal-conduct policy for his offseason legal issues.
Schneider re-told the story on KJR that he gave on draft night of sweating so much over whether Pocic would be available to draft at the bottom of round two that he had to change his shirt Friday after the Seahawks indeed got him.
It’s the LSU center’s history of playing guard and tackle that made him valuable to the Seahawks — so much so, they bypassed Colorado’s renowned cover cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, among others who were available at positions that could help Seattle, with their 58th overall pick.
Awuzie was drafted two spots later, by Dallas. The Seahawks got the less-touted Griffin from Central Florida a round later.
Schneider said Friday that when he selected Pocic it’s like getting “2 1/2 players in one guy.”
Pocic is 6 feet 6 and 317 pounds. He also played some right guard and right tackle at LSU, but almost all of his starts were at center.
The Seahawks have Justin Britt finally at home at center after a strong 2016 debut there, though Britt is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Seattle signed veteran Oday Aboushi in March to play right guard, but only for one season. That was after the Seahawks missed out on top free-agent guard T.J. Lang. He signed with his hometown Detroit Lions instead. In late March, Schenider mentioned his team’s plans to move Germain Ifedi, its first-round pick in 2016 who started at right guard, back to his college position of right tackle this year.
Pocic’s arrival and versatility might alter some of those plans, depending on what he looks like beginning May 12 in rookie minicamp.
In March, the Seahawks signed Joeckel, the former No. 2-overall pick by Jacksonville, to a one-year contract with $7 million guaranteed. That’s tackle-like money for what was the NFL’s lowest-paid offensive line last season. But Joeckel lost his tackle job with the Jaguars last season and played five games at left guard in 2016 before he went on Jacksonville’s injured-reserve list because of a major knee injury and surgery.
He’s a candidate to replace either 2016 undrafted rookie college basketball player George Fant at left tackle or Mark Glowinski at left guard.
So, yes, a ton to settle on the offensive line. Again.
Then again, it’s only May 2.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle