More than ever, Pete Carroll sounds like he and the Seahawks are moving on past Kam Chancellor’s ongoing holdout.
The coach said on his weekly radio show with 710 ESPN in Seattle Monday morning that Saturday’s trade of a fifth-round draft choice to Kansas City for fourth-year veteran Kelcie McCray was to “solidify” the strong safety position for Sunday’s opener at St. Louis as Chancellor’s holdout entered its 39th day Monday with no end in sight.
Carroll said “there is not much small talk” between him and his team leader beyond each side knowing where it stands. The team doesn’t want to set a precedent of adding more money now to Chancellor’s contract that has three years still remaining on it. The oft-injured and thumping Chancellor, not sure how many more seasons his body can withstand playing, wants all the money he can get now after seeing the team add $1.5 million in guarantees for Marshawn Lynch last preseason (when Lynch’s deal had one more left on it).
“This is an important week to see where he is,” in his holdout, Carroll said – a subtle nod to the fact there is still time for Chancellor to report and play this weekend against the Rams.
Not that the Seahawks expect him to do that. If he doesn’t, he will forfeit his first of 17 weekly game checks, which for him come at $267,647 each.
"Yeah, we'd love to have everybody,” Carroll said of missing Chancellor’s leadership on the field and in the locker room. “But we're going to be strong anyway."
The coach confirmed Seattle has signed free-agent running back Fred Jackson. Here is a picture of the former Buffalo lead runner doing just that inside Seahawks’ headquarters in Renton on Sunday:
Carroll said Jackson’s value is going to be in the passing game as a blocker and receiver out of the backfield, and that he already has the 34-year-old pal of Lynch’s diving into Seattle’s passing playbook in particular. He has four practices to digest that before the opener: today’s, then after a Tuesday players’ day off practices on Wednesday, Thursday and on Friday’s travel day.
McCray was stuck behind a glut of good safeties in Kansas City. Carroll said it took a fifth-round pick to pry him away because the Chiefs liked him so much, and that McCray will instantly become “a core special-teams guy” in addition to providing more experience at strong safety than 2014 rookie Dion Bailey was providing there in Chancellor’s absence before Saturday’s trade.
As for Seattle’s other star safety, Carroll said Earl Thomas has been quietly going about his business recovering from February shoulder surgery and returning to practice.
“But he’ll speak loudly when he gets on the field here, I think. It’s going to be exciting to see him play this week,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks are healthy heading into the regular season. Carroll said the only concerning injuries on the current 53-man roster is third tight end Cooper Helfet with a knee and reserve linebacker and special-teams guy Mike Morgan’s hamstring.
You can listen to the entire interview with Carroll on the “Brock and Salk Show” here: