Today is August 18th and we’re officially 19 days into training camp. The first preseason game has come and gone.
Still, no Kam Chancellor.
Reports have surfaced that Kam has been in constant contact with the team and many of its players. Dion Bailey even posted a tweet tagging Chancellor the other day – thanking him for the tips he had been giving him. Additionally, he’s reportedly been watching practice on an iPad and giving other defensive backs tips.
Chancellor is one year into a 4-year/$28M million dollar deal and he’s the highest paid strong safety in the NFL on an average-per-year basis (while his guarantees come in lower than he'd hope). Typically, teams will not even consider renegotiating a contract until the 3rd contract year, and the Seahawks have repeatedly noted they will not re-do a deal until the final year of a contract. Again, Kam Chancellor has three years remaining on his deal.
All John Schneider has to say is: "Nah, we don’t want to change anything".... and the Hawks could be done with it. Seattle holds all the cards. This is the problem: if Seattle redoes Kam’s contract, then you also almost surely have to re-do Bennett’s contact this year. Reportedly, Bennett and his agent are keeping a close eye on the Chancellor contract situation (and they should be). And how much do you want to bet, that if the Seahawks re-do Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman come calling for a contract restructure next year?
Every single day Kam Chancellor misses gives the Seahawks the option to collect an additional $30,000 in fines. Multiply 19 days by $30,000 and you get $570,000. However, it’s important to note that this is not mandatory – and the Hawks can actually use the "forgiveness of these fines" as leverage to bring Kam back to camp.
Per Section 9 of Article 4 in the NFL CBA established in 2011:
"If a player commits a Forfeitable Breach resulting in his absence for six preseason days after the start of training camp, the player may be required to forfeit up to 15% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations, and up to an additional 1% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations for each additional preseason day missed after the six days, up to a maximum of 25% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations."
In translation, the Hawks can fine Kam up to an additional $250,000 (up to 25% of his signing bonus proration for this year – which is $1M, or 1% each day, at $10,000 per day). At 19 days, that's currently at $190,000.
In total – adding the $30,000 a day fines and the signing bonus forfeitures, the Hawks could now fine Kam $760,000. That number goes up with every passing day, and there are 38 total days of training camp.
This is their leverage, while Kam's leverage is: "See how well you play with me not in the game." Still, if the holdout continues into the regular season, the Hawks can go after an additional $250,000 of Chancellor's signing bonus immediately, plus withhold his gamecheck each week, a $267,647 loss for every missed game. Seattle can go after his full $1M signing bonus proration as the holdout goes on. Kam stands to lose a lot of money if this holdout continues into the season.
Pete Carroll noted on Monday that for the team and Chancellor, "Our conversations continue. Nothing has changed but we're in communication regularly. I think knowing Kam and knowing how strong-minded he is, I think he's made that statement. He's really got a thought here that he is holding on to."
You want my opinion? Don’t get me wrong – I love Kam. I really do... everyone in Seattle does. But you have to set a precedent here. Don’t fine him the full extent – but fine him a decent amount to set a precedent concerning early contract talks and holdout posturing. If you’re Pete or John -- you have so much to gain by setting a business precedent.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Seahawks are about to make Kam an example.