RENTON It’s may be the most uncontentious, yet protracted contract situation in Seahawks history.
At least publicly, anyway.
Kam Chancellor says talks on a new extension to remain with the only NFL team he’s known in his seven-year career are “positive on both ends.”
“Hopefully it gets done anytime now,” Chancellor said Monday following the second practice of training camp. “But I feel like it’s been positive on both ends. Both side have been very productive, been working together. And just waiting to see what’s happening.”
He also said he wants to retire as a Seahawk.
I asked the 29-year-old Chancellor, who is entering the last year of a contract he’s wanted extended and re-done for two years, if he wanted the Seahawks to be the last team he plays for.
“Exactly,” he said, quickly.
“I do. I do. I love this team. They gave me the first opportunity -- the only opportunity (as one of the franchise’s best fifth-round picks ever, in 2010). And, you know, I would love to retire here.”
Asked how realistic he thinks retiring as a Seahawk is, Chancellor turned coy. And accurate.
“As realistic as they make it,” he said.
This is how popular Chancellor remains with Seahawks fans:
Chancellor reiterated what he said last month: he has faith the Seahawks will take care of him and did a get new, fair deal done. He also echoed coach Pete Carroll, who said Sunday the team has “looked long and hard” at getting Chancellor a new contract, and that “hopefully” there would an agreement “soon.”
Would Chancellor be surprised if he doesn’t have an extension by the season opener Sept. 10 at Green Bay?
“I don’t like to put negative thoughts in my head. You know, I’m a positive guy,” Chancellor said, grinning. “So I’d rather just keep it on the positive end.
“Both sides are being productive and positive. So we’ll just keep it here.”
I asked him if a deal is not done by that first game would be rather table the talks until after the season so as to not be a distraction.
“Whether it’s done or not done, I’m still going to play ball,” said Chancellor, who held out more than 50 days starting in training camp in 2015 seeking a new contract he still hasn’t gotten. “I’m playing ball, regardless.”
The four-time Pro Bowl selection and soul of the Seahawks’ locker room said he wants to play “as long as the wheels let me, until the wheels fall off.”
He means his legs. Those have troubled him regularly since 2011, when he missed a game with a quadriceps injury. Since then he’s had groin pulls. He’s had bone spurs in his ankles. He had surgery on both ankles this offseason, resulting in him being in a wheelchair for 10 days.
He hasn’t played a full season since 2013.
He acknowledged with a chuckle his body has extensive mileage on it.
“Of course, yeah, I’m not the same rookie I was seven years ago,” he said. “So of course it’s a lot different. Everything is going to change. Nothing stays the same forever.”
But then he added: “You see, the word old, you are only as old as you feel.
“I don’t call myself old,” he said, shrugging. “I’m just wiser. No, I don’
That, of course, is the ultimate reason Chancellor
“I can’t really put a time frame on how long I want to play,” Chancellor said. “It’s however long my body holds up, however long the Lord allows me to. It’s never up to me.”
It took exactly one practice into this preseason before coach Pete Carroll got asked about Chancellor’s contract situation.
“We have looked long and hard at that,” Carroll said. “There is a lot of real positive stuff coming.
“We aren’t quite there yet. But I think it’s nothing but positive stuff. But hopefully we will be able to get stuff done soon.”
“Stuff” includes an extension that would likely be for a more team-friendly cap number than $8.1 million, Chancellor’s current cap charge for 2017. It would likely have signing-bonus guarantees and back-loaded money beyond this year that Seattle could easily shed if his performance declines at age 30 and beyond.
Chancellor is scheduled to earn $6.8 million in base pay and $325,008 in per-week roster bonuses this season, with a salary-cap charge of $8.125,008.
Chancellor watched in December when the Seahawks gave two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett a $31.5 million extension with $17.5 million guaranteed. Bennett is 2 1/2 years older than Chancellor.
Chancellor watched in March when Miami safety Reshad Jones, who like Chancellor is 29, got a four-year, $48-million contract extension. The Dolphins gave Jones $33 million guaranteed. He got $19,885,000 guaranteed at signing, a $9 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed base pays in 2017 and ‘18.
Jones has been selected to one Pro Bowl in his seven NFL seasons.
But as long as Mount Rainier is still standing, there’s no way the Seahawks want to guarantee $33 million to Chancellor.
How much are they willing to pay him, not necessarily just for what he’s worth now but for what he’s done for the franchise for the last seven years?
That delta between what he’s worth now and what the team can or is willing to guarantee Chancellor is likely why he hasn’t already signed a new deal. And to be sure, at this point in his career with his injury history, this entirely is about the guarantees.
Any deal the Seahawks strike would likely be for a more team-friendly cap number than Chancellor’s $8.1 million for this year. It would likely have signing-bonus guarantees and back-loaded money beyond 2017 that Seattle could easily shed if his performance declines at 30 and beyond.
The longer he goes without a new contract, the more this becomes something in Seattle’s real season.
This spring Seattle drafted Michigan’s Delano Hill in the third round. He’s 6 feet 1, 216 pounds, and known as an aggressive tackler against the run. Hill was the second-team strong safety behind Chancellor on Sunday.
But nothing Carroll said Sunday or Chancellor said Monday suggested the Seahawks are preparing to move on past their mainstay safety from the previous six seasons and two Super Bowls.
Everything suggested positive progress toward a new deal. But when?