Fans of teams across the NFL are basking in the glow of the hope that comes with the addition of new names through the draft, and supporters of the Seattle Seahawks are no different. However, it may not be all good news for Hawks fans this week, as a combination of factors align to make it probable that the team makes a long anticipated, yet still unpleasant, move sometime in the second half of this week.
It’s highly possible that deathbacker Kam Chancellor is officially released this week.
It’s been nearly 18 months since Chancellor donned the Seahawks uniform for the last time during Week 10 of the 2017 season, but after spending 2018 on the Reserve/PUP list, it is likely that the team officially ends his tenure. The reasons it is likely are two fold.
The first reason simply has to do with the period for which former players are provided health insurance by the CBA under the group plan for NFL players. This is covered under Article 59, Section 1(d): (emphasis is mine)
Period of Benefits. Subject to the extension provided in Section 2, Players will continue to receive the benefits provided in this Article through the end of the Plan Year in which they are released or otherwise sever employment. Players vested due to their Credited Seasons under the Retirement Plan who are released or otherwise sever employment after May 1 in a calendar year will continue to receive the benefits provided under this section until the first regular season game of the season that begins in the following calendar year. Group benefits are guaranteed during the term of this Agreement unless required to be modified by law.
Thus, as long as Chancellor is released after Wednesday, he will be extended health insurance through Week 1 of the 2020 season.
Then, there is the fact that with the team seemingly confident that he will never step on the field as a player in the future, there is no longer any need to use a roster spot on him. Thus, at this point there becomes no reason to keep him on the roster any longer. In fact, with rookie minicamp starting on Friday, that roster spot can go to an undrafted free agent who has the potential to be on the roster and step on the field for the team this fall.
Before anyone jumps down to the comments and argues that the team won’t release Chancellor simply to free up a rooster spot for a UDFA, let’s take a look back at how the team handled the release of Cliff Avril last offseason.
That’s Friday, May 4, 2018, which also happened to be the first day of the team’s 2018 rookie minicamp.
So, if history is an accurate guide on this, Chancellor’s time with the Hawks will officially come to a close on Friday. Obviously, it’s been known for some time that his days with the team were numbered, but the sad reality is that while Chancellor is still listed on the team’s roster on the Seahawks website, that will probably change this week.
Chancellor was a force for the Hawks and set the tone early in Super Bowl XLVIII, but the time has likely come for the torch to be officially passed.