Doug Baldwin says he talks to Kam Chancellor “every day.”
So, yes, the Seahawks’ top wide receiver says he knows what his fellow team leader is doing in his holdout that is now in its 26th day with zero end in sight. And, no, Baldwin is not in the locker room wondering what the star strong safety is up to and why he’s not with his team.
“No,” Baldwin said following today’s helmets-and-shoulder-pads practice here in Renton. “I talk to Kam every day, so I know exactly what he’s doing.”
I asked Baldwin if he was like every other teammate I’ve asked: agreeing with Chancellor’s stance that he get more this year than the $4.55 million with $4.45 million of that salary guaranteed he is scheduled to earn.
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Baldwin paused then said: “I support Kam Chancellor, the person. I know what he stands for. I know this is a difficult time, both for the organization and for him. Gotta get through it.
“It’s part of what this team is. It’s the price of success. We have so much talent here, guys that want to get paid, that need to get paid ... it’s the price of success.”
Baldwin said he is optimistic the impasse will end soon and Chancellor will be back anchoring the middle of Seattle’s top-ranked defense and thumping receivers and ball carriers again before the games get real Sept. 13 at St. Louis. Unless Chancellor suddenly U-turns from his dug-in stance or the Seahawks reverse their’s that they aren’t going to add guaranteed money now to his deal on which he still has three years remaining, he will miss the third and relatively most important preseason game Saturday at San Diego. Seattle’s starters will likely play into the second half in their final rehearsal before the opener.
If Chancellor takes this holdout past next Tuesday, Sept. 1, the day of the league’s first roster cut from 90 to 75 players, the league’s collective bargaining agreement appears to allow the Seahawks to request a roster exemption for him. That could trigger the team to withhold regular-season game checks until he does report.
Article 20, section 4.b. states that for players under contract who do not report: “If a Club obtains a roster exemption for a player under contract who does not report to his Club until after the first roster reduction, the player will not be entitled to preseason or regular season compensation until such exemption is removed, provided the player is given written notice of such fact upon reporting to the Club.”
I asked Baldwin if he could imagine Chancellor taking this holdout into the regular season.
“Could I imagine it?” Baldwin said. “I don’t want to.”
Chancellor staying out into the regular season would leave him risking not only a first game check of $267,647 but potentially an additional $250,000 fine from the team -- 25 percent of his $1 million signing-bonus proration for this year, per the CBA. That’s on top of the $900,000-plus he’s now potentially at risk for in preseason fines at $30,000 per day missed.
Not that the Seahawks will choose to fine him for any amount.
Meanwhile, 2014 undrafted free agent Dion Bailey, a practice-squad member for most of last season out of USC, remains the first-team strong safety filling in for Chancellor.
And on it goes.