Kam Chancellor is still the man in Seattle

November 15th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas combine to deliver a big hit on Rob Gronkowski

“They (Patriots) think Michael Bennett is their best defensive player. I tend to think Kam Chancellor is the difference maker on that defense.”

Matt Hasselbeck on ESPN 710 this morning (listen here)

After a great win in New England, I didn’t really expect to be discussing Kam Chancellor’s future in the comments section. That’s what happened though — and it’s a topic that comes up an awful lot.

I’m not here to tell people they’re wrong or shouldn’t be discussing certain subjects — this is a free blog and a place to talk about anything.

I’m also not calling the person out for having the opinion. I respect their views and don’t want to deter them from contributing in the future.

Yet it does feel like we spend an awful lot of time discussing who ‘needs to go’ in Seattle. One week it’ll be Darrell Bevell, then it’s Tom Cable. Jimmy Graham will have a quiet game so he needs to be cut or traded. And the other name that frequently comes up is Kam Chancellor.

Really there’s no need for any of this. Seattle’s offense has ranked in the top ten in DVOA for the last four years — so the offense must be doing something right. Jimmy Graham is on pace for a 1000-yard season and ranks among the top three TE’s in the league statistically despite missing most of the first two games.

And then there’s Chancellor — rapidly becoming so terribly under-appreciated by certain elements of Seattle’s fan base.

There’s a reason why people like Matt Hasselbeck view him as the defensive MVP on the team. His ability to organise, be a tone-setter, be an intimidating force over the middle and contribute vs the run is unmatched in the NFL. There is only one player like Kam Chancellor. There’s unlikely to be another any time soon — he is a thoroughly unique individual.

He’s also a highly underrated playmaker. Just think of the many vital, critical plays he’s made in the last two years alone:

— Punching the ball out at the one-yard line vs Detroit in 2015, turning a probable loss into a win in a split second

— Forcing Adrian Peterson to fumble in the 2015 playoff game vs Minnesota — the subsequent drive led to a touchdown and a lead Seattle never surrendered

— Defending Rob Gronkowski on the final play on Sunday night, matching up 1v1 in coverage against one of the best in the league and defending the pass

— Forcing Julian Edelman to fumble the ball at midfield and giving Seattle’s offense a chance to claim a winning seven point advantage on the next possession

— The pick-six against Carolina in the 2014 playoffs, sealing a vital victory in a game also known for Chancellor leaping over the LOS to try and block a field goal

This doesn’t account for all the other plays he made earlier in his career, such as the unforgettable hits of Vernon Davis or his inspired Super Bowl performance against Denver.

It has been suggested by some that Chancellor isn’t the same player any more — and yet he continues to make such vital plays for the Seahawks in their most recent game.

Mike Bar broke down his performance vs New England for Field Gulls today. He notes:

“Kam was unbelievable on Sunday night. It was reminiscent of 2014, when he missed several games with an injury and then returned in peak form, wrecking offenses all throughout the trek to the Super Bowl.”

He concludes his piece with the following assertion:

“Plays are to be had on Chancellor. Brady completed a few balls on him, although nothing was seriously damaging. Like I said, he’s not the best safety in the league.

“He is, though, hands down the most dominant player at his position in the league and every facet of his game wrecked the Patriots’ chances of victory throughout the 60 minutes of play on Sunday. He came through time and time again, taking points off of the board for New England and preserving Seattle’s chances at victory. Nobody in the league at the safety position can have as obvious or pronounced an impact as Chancellor.

“We are watching peak Kamtrak right now and Bam Bam’s boom train doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.”

Elliot Harrison also summed it up in his power rankings piece for NFL.com this week:

“While many were breathlessly marveling over the improved play of a healthier Russell Wilson in Sunday’s win at New England, I couldn’t help but think about what an elite player Kam Chancellor is. During a time where we debate whether this quarterback or that quarterback is “elite,” a guy like Chancellor deserves way more attention. Forget the non-call (the right call) on the fourth-and-goal throw to Gronk — the hustle play Chancellor made down the line to grab LeGarrette Blount’s feet as the Pats RB tried to dive over the pile won the game. Seriously: It won the damn game. It reminded me of the effort play Chancellor made against the Lions last year on “Monday Night Football,” peeling off his man to belt Calvin Johnson at the goal line, force a fumble and essentially win that game. Chancellor is talented, football smart and, most emphatically, all heart.”

It’s that heart which is also so important to the Seahawks. I posted this video on Sunday night after the game — but it’s worth another look:

Every player on this team gravitates to Kam. The Seahawks had other players like that — Red Bryant for example or Michael Robinson — but Kam is on a different level. When he’s speaking, people listen. When he tells you to do something, you do it. Offense, defense. He’s the man people turn to.

Yes — he’s had injuries. Some perspective is required though. Chancellor missed two games last season due to the holdout and three due to injury. Between 2010 and 2014 he missed three games in total.

Michael Bennett missed three games due to injury in that same timeframe. Bobby Wagner missed eight games between 2013 and 2015. K.J. Wright missed four games in 2012 and 2013 combined and Cliff Avril began his NFL career in Detroit playing 15, 13 and 13 games in his first three years.

Chancellor isn’t the only player to miss time and his injuries are not chronic knee or back problems. You get banged up in this league, especially when you play an overly physical brand of football. C’est la vie.

If he only plays 12 games a year for the rest of his career, that’ll still be better than the 16 you’ll play without him if you move him on.

Finally onto the finances. What incentive is there to make a move there either?

According to Spotrac, the Seahawks are set for $24m in free cap space in 2017. They have no core free agents unless you want to include Steven Hauschka, Kelcie McCray or Luke Willson.

If they cut J’Marcus Webb they’ll gain a further $2.5m in cap space — pushing the overall number to around $26.5m.

They legitimately have enough money to give Chancellor, Bennett and Avril a pay rise and still make one or two moves in the market if they wish to.

Chancellor’s 2017 cap hit of $8.125m isn’t small — but he’ll be the seventh highest paid player on the roster next year as things stand. That’s not unreasonable given his overall importance to the team — even if he misses games.

Perhaps there is some lingering ill-feeling after the poorly advised holdout a year ago? I can understand that. Yet the Seahawks appear to have moved on and there’s no sign in that video above that Chancellor is mailing anything in.

Maybe this is a minority view among fans? Possibly. I could be overstating the clamour to move on from Kam. He is as vital as anyone else on the defense though — and if this piece is nothing more than an opportunity to reinforce that, I think it’s worth putting out there.

EDIT — Regular contributor Volume 12 just noted in the comments section that Chancellor is, in many ways, Seattle’s answer to Ray Lewis. I think that is the ideal comparison.

As for this…

The Seahawks have gone above and beyond to give Christine Michael an opportunity to deliver on his massive potential. He’s not taken those opportunities — and he might not get another one.

It’s sad to think Michael will look back in 10 years at this major missed opportunity in the NFL. He’s had a fair crack though, he can have no complaints there.

93 Responses to “Kam Chancellor is still the man in Seattle”

  1. Cameron says:

    Excellent write up Rob. I too have spent a fair amount of time thinking about Kam Chancellor and his future in Seattle. I agree – any talk to cutting and/or trading Kam is ludicrous. He is the heart and soul of this defense and we are a better football team when he is on the field.

    Here’s the question though – is it fair to be thinking about the future beyond Kam? He’s only 28 but his style of football may not necessarily conducive to a long and productive NFL career. Is it possible to identify an immediate contributor and a long term replacement?

    I know the Seahawks were rumored to be interested in Mark Barron when TB made him available a few years ago, so it’s not crazy to think SEA is looking for a SLB/SS/Flat defender to go along with Kam and Earl. Really interested in your thoughts.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’d say a couple of things on this. I saw the talk about Barron too but it’s worth noting that he was always expected to go very early (top-seven) in that draft and the Seahawks picked 12th — so it was never likely he would actually fall to Seattle’s pick. I seem to recall the suggestion was Barron and Kuechly were near the top of their board. My understanding is Seattle didn’t really expect to get either and from quite early in the process fully intended to draft a pass rusher with their first pick having identified speed in the front seven as their biggest need (thus: Bruce Irvin).

      I also think it’s entirely possible Barron could’ve ended up at LB for Seattle, as he has now transitioned to in LA.

      Secondly — I’m not sure you go out of your way to ‘draft a future replacement’ because there’s a chance that high pick doesn’t see the field unless, like Barron, they can play LB too or contribute in other ways. Considering the team is in the middle of a Championship window now, they’re really better off upgrading bigger needs (OL, DL etc) and having Kam and someone like McCray as a solid backup. I’d be inclined to let this play out and cross the Kam-retirement bridge when it comes. There’s always an exception — if you see a unique, brilliant player it sways you. That could happen. But I’m not seeing a likely candidate in this class. It’s good for safety’s but they’re all very different players and a lot of them are going to go very early.

      • Volume12 says:

        There are some big safeties this year that are more than likely day 3 picks, but they’ll be developmental, STs guys more than likely early on. The learning curve for DBs at the next level is incredibly hard.

        Just like with Lynch, there’s only so many Bam Bam’s. And their few and far between. Pittsburgh is still trying to replace Polamalu.

        • C-Dog says:

          I think that’s probably a decent plan. Kam started as a special teamer learning the ropes. I don’t see him going anytime soon. They seem to look for players like his measurables in the later rounds like Pinkins and Winston Guy, so it’s kinda easier said than done thinking that one will develop and stick.

      • 503Hawk says:

        Rob, your responses to our posts are better reading than what most other sites put up for their main articles!

  2. I think the moving on from Kam sentiment really comes down to four things:

    1) His holdout drastically hurt his earned support by the fans. Even if we think he won’t do it ever again he still did it and it dropped our stock in him. Now granted it showed how important he was (we lost without him and with Dion Bailey) but still.

    2) His quality of play last year was down. He had some epic moments and I believe he improved near the end of the season but I was very happy to see him playing like it was 2013 this season up until he got hurt (thankfully he picked up where he left off and looked fantastic vs the Pats)

    3) Add the games he missed this season due to injury (groin yet again) with the games he missed last season due to injury along with the holdout and you got a guy being paid top strong safety money missing quite a few bit of games. His play style seems so prone to injuries and a shortened career that we fear investing more into him and then regretting it. That leads me to

    4) Why would we care about regretting an investment in him? Well because we’ve got McCray. Obviously we can win with McCray. He has proven to be a starting quality strong safety. Is he special or elite like Kam? No. But at the same time let’s recognize how much more experience in general along with experience on our defense with his teammates that Kam has over McCray. How good could McCray get if he was the starter for the next 2-4 seasons? We’ve got a legitimate replacement option behind Kam should we want him. That gives us an option, an option that we think about every time Kam makes a mistake or is out hurt.

    Those are the reasons I believe. However I do believe you are right. We’ve got the money, he is having a fantastic year, his injury history isn’t that bad and he is so much more than his consistent play. He is epic, big time moment play (ball punch outs, big hits, etc) and he is the heart of the team (team leader, heart since Beastmode left, etc).

    The question I am left with is what happens to McCray? As you mention he is a UFA in ’17 and he has proven enough I believe to warrant him getting offers to be a starting DB on some other team. So it becomes hard to imagine we can afford him and then it leaves me wondering who is there behind Kam for when he likely gets hurt again? If the FO is high on someone, say Powell to be our next Shead/McCray and he can do that, then great. But if we have another Dion Bailey behind Kam (aka a liability) and Kam misses ~3 games a season if not more going forward…I worry about that.

    • Rob Staton says:

      “Add the games he missed this season due to injury (groin yet again) with the games he missed last season due to injury along with the holdout and you got a guy being paid top strong safety money missing quite a few bit of games.”

      As noted in the piece though — Wagner missed a similar number of games due to injury in 2013-15. Kam’s cap hit makes him the seventh best paid player on the roster on 2017. It’s not obscene even if he misses time.

      • Very valid and in no way did I mean to imply he would be so highly paid that if he missed say 3 games it would be obscene or even bad. 3 games given a NFL season, especially given how he plays, is actually something quite easy to swallow. I think the fear is that given how he plays and his now continual groin injury issues that he might be like most running backs and hit 30 y/o and fall apart and still have 1-2 years left on his (assumed) extension.

        I think how it will be received will depend on if he can stay healthy from here on out this season and how much we pay him if we extend him. If we make him the highest paid SS in the NFL with legit guaranteed money I’ll definitely worry that we bit off more than we can chew and he could fall apart at 30 with 1-2 years left on his extension hit our cap in a crappy way. But if his deal is really fair and is good for both him and the organization then those worries will be really easy to swallow.

        • Rob Staton says:

          To be honest — I’ll happily take the chance on Kam and live with it if he has injury issues or a slight decline in performance. I’m going all-in on the guy.

          • I’m 99% sure I am right there with you in sharing that opinion. I imagine it would be a pretty big blow to the team to have the heart and soul of the team (Marshawn) leave and then have his successor (Kam) leave not that long afterwards. Can’t keep losing the beating heart, the epitome of your teams style, the leaders of your team.

            • arias says:

              All good points Nathan, it can’t be easy.

              But somehow the Patriots pull it off year after year when a guy plays himself out of the salary range the team is willing to pay for a position. They just did it again trading All Pro LB Jamie Collins to the Browns, or Chandler Jones to the Cards in the offseason, two guys you could argue were the heart of their defense that helped them win a Super Bowl. They let Revis walk, Logan Mankins, the list goes on and on. There’s only one indispensable player on that team plus the indispensable coach. But it’s hard to argue when they’ve been able to keep their ostensible championship window open during the entirety of their indispensable player’s 16 year career thus far.

              I’m not advocating the Seahawks go down that route. As a fan, I prefer Schneider’s model of hanging onto our stars. I just wonder if it’s more limiting to our championship window to be too reliant on our stars on defense when the shelf life of their careers are much shorter than what we’d hope we can expect from our quarterback.

              In the end, I think it’s probably a better strategy to play for the here and now and max out while we can. There are no guarantees Russ will be playing at 39 like Brady when his style of play makes him more vulnerable to a shorter career.

    • Volume12 says:

      They find McCray through a trade with KC. They find 2 great gunners at the DB position. One through trade and the other an UDFA.

      They always find DB’s on day 3. It can be worrisome that they might not be able to keep doing that in a copycat league. But, until then I see no reason why they can’t.

      After all, when you allow guys to play to their strengths, have such a required athletic and physical profile for the defensive backfield, know what you want in the position, it allows them to hit on the position more than not.

      Look at Carolina this year for example. They had to replace how many starters in the back-end, and it was almost like they had no idea what they were looking for.

  3. Volume12 says:

    Great piece. Again. Really sums up what Kam means to this team.

    ‘Not the best safety in the league. But the most dominant player at his position’ is really the perfect description.

    He’s becoming a Ray Lewis type inspirational leader for this current generation. The guy you’d take a bullet for without hesitation.

    I think you may be right as to why some feel the need to discuss cutting, trading him,vwhatever. There’s gotta be I’ll will about the holdout last year. And for a lot of fans, there’s always someone out there better, younger, and cheaper. But, you don’t know what ya got until its gone.

    For me though, he’s still my current favorite Hawk and is absolutely irreplaceable.

  4. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Fully agreed.

    I honestly think there is just a subset of the fanbase that will NEVER support him after the holdout. No matter rhyme nor reason.

    Chancellor is simply a difference maker. And I said as much at the time of his holdout. I didn’t care about how he was the top, second or third highest paid strong safety. He is simply a game changer. That quality is so very rare. And sometimes that quality is bestowed on guys that aren’t QBs or RBs, or pass rushers.

    Kam’s total collection of elements to his play simply can turn a game by himself.

    Not only that, but look around the league. Look at how many game changing talents are absolute nightmares relative to team culture. Guys who are individually talented game changers but whose repugnant personas poison the other 52 players on the team. Kam is the exact opposite of that. He’s a game changer that elevates and inspires every player on this team. If you doubted his value in the clubhouse, then I’d invite you to look again at the absolute unwillingness of any of his teammates criticizing his decision. Despite his actions harming (and resulting in losses) for them and the team.

    We’re incredibly lucky to have Chancellor on this team. And even when he’s not suited up — like the Atlanta game — he has the unquestioned respect of the elite of the elite on this team. No other player had the juice and the command to right Sherman’s eruption instantly and stem the tide of discontent.

    Even in street clothes, Kam was instrumental in winning that game. That win right now is the difference between a first round bye and a wild card appearance.

  5. Seahawcrates says:

    Kam was the best player on the best defense in the run to the 2013 Superbowl. He takes games over. He is not broken. He does get injured. So does everyone in the NFL. When he returned to the team last year the defense solidified. I’m expecting the same this year. You don’t cut the core. Pete and John have constructed cap space for that reason. You don’t cut Kam to save money you already have enough of. Really excited to see this team make another run.

  6. sdcoug says:

    The bigger question: how will each side view worth after 2017?

    I hate to use this word, but is Kam at an age and physical condition where he’s depreciating? Will the hawks think so, and thus offer the same yearly rate? Slightly more? Less? Part of the contention during his holdout was that he was already at the top of his positional pay scale. Token raise?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think you give him a raise.

      A show of appreciation — a show of commitment. They’ll get it back tenfold.

      • LordSnow says:

        If pro football had a “wins above replacement” stat that they use in baseball (for example, Mike Trout routinely gets around 9 WAR per season or 9 wins above a replacement level of player) then I bet Kam would be near the top of NFL safeties. He just makes big plays in big moments, is always in the middle of game deciding plays.

        If the various injuries are not looking to be chronic, resign him and give him more.

      • Joe S says:

        They’ll get it back tenfold.

        He is so valuable to this team. He played the ’14 playoffs on a bad knee. He will battle it out when the stakes are highest. If he’s missing 2-3 games a year it’s so he can get right for the stretch. Like you said Rob, everyone misses games. I don’t see why Kam can’t be good into his early 30’s. He relies on his strength, his technique, and his intelligence. Invest in the man.

      • Phil says:

        I assume that league rules prohibit this, but wouldn’t it be great to reward Kam with some “special” recognition of his worth to the team by contractually promising him a spot with the Seahawks FO or coaching staff post-retirement? The guy is inspirational and he seems like he loves the game. Some players don’t have interests outside the game and knowing that the team is really going to “take care of their own” even after their playing days are over would have to look like a god-sent gift to them. It could also be a way of deferring pay — beneficial tax-wise to Kam and cap-wise to the Seahawks — but that is probably where it is prohibited under league rules.

  7. Volume12 says:

    Rob, have you seen this Jordan Morgan, OT, Kutztown? Just got a SR bowl invite.

    Pretty intriguing. He’s nasty. Looks athletic too. I just found this.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/WurthDraft/status/798541161375920129/video/1

    • Rob Staton says:

      Will check it out. How big is he?

      • Volume12 says:

        Good question. Let me check.

        • Volume12 says:

          6’4, 320.

          When asked to describe himself to a GM, he said ‘I would say you won’t find many guys like myself. I realize I’m gifted but I’m a worker and I pride myself in that more than anything else. I have a hunger and dog mentality I won’t let another man outdo me.’

          • Volume12 says:

            He’s got some confidence. Thinks his athleticism will separate him from the pack.

            • D-OZ says:

              WOW!!!! Move him inside and you really have something there. Looks like he can play tackle at the next level too. Move’s really well.

            • C-Dog says:

              Nice looking player. They are presently listing him as a guard.

              A couple other players listed that I’m interested in are Cooper Kupp, and TE Gerald Everett of South Alabama.

  8. CC says:

    The Ray Lewis comparison is spot on. Kam will likely miss games going forward because his body is already failing him, but he still is the heart of the team. The challenge going forward is that Kam thinks he deserves a raise, and it is hard to see how he can get one if he’s going to miss games. I hope I’m wrong.

    I also feel bad for CMike – I was hoping he’d figure it out, but you could see he wasn’t able to sustain it. He had his opportunity.

    But I’m happy that Troymaine is back! You know that young man will do everything he can – work for every blade of grass – sadly something CMike couldn’t figure out how to do.

  9. nichansen01 says:

    I love pope. I thought he looked better than Michael all preseason long. And what a story. I love a group of Rawls Prosise and Pope.

    Michael really didn’t look good at all, despite the touchdowns. Running the wrong way, running out of bounds, tripping on his own feet. No good. However, I always thought Collins looked far worse. Collins always looked like he no explosion and fumbled so easily. I would have rather kept Michael, who at least is still explosive.

    • LordSnow says:

      Dave wyman suggests it may be more than the desire to move on from Cmike – there may be some attitude problems and perhaps a nonacceptance of the diminished role.

      He said there are two kinds of teammates, guys that love football, and guys that love being football players. He thinks Cmike loved being a football player more than a love of the game.

    • Volume12 says:

      I agree that Collins has been disappointing outside of his huge, critical 3rd down grab against Atlanta, but I hope they give him one more off-season to prove himself before cutting ties.

    • Corey says:

      I think it has more to do with the fact they know what they have in CMike and have only had Collins in the system for a half a year.

      • Michael M. says:

        I have been one of the biggest CMike apologists since I jumped out of my chair on draft day, but this move tells me that it’s finally time to give up. He may be a ridiculously explosive athlete, but he’s never going to put it all together.

        I mean, at least part of this has to be off the field stuff, right? Alex Collins has shown me nothing – he’s the least explosive player to don a ‘Hawks uniform in the Pete Carroll era (as evidenced by his horrific combine performance) and he’s got ball security issues. Why in the world does he survive ahead of CMike unless one guy really fits in the locker room and the other does not?

        • arias says:

          Money. Cheap contract, club control, and potential to improve. CMike’s a free agent after this year and already had his 3 years to show us what he could do. It wasn’t enough.

  10. line_hawk says:

    Kam is a great player, one of my favorite on the team. He had a great game against NE. He makes splash plays at clutch moments. He also has weaknesses like any player, especially in coverage. But there are ways to cover them up most times. I would guess most people agree on this.

    But let’s not lose perspective here. He will be 30 when he begins his new contract. If he is looking for a 3 yr extension at 10M a year, I don’t think it’s worth it. Did we learn anything from Lynch’s extension? We need to pay younger players like Clark, Lockett, Britt, Marsh; not spend all money on line backers & DBs.

    Having said that, I will always root for Kam & hope that he is sensible in his contract talks. I would love him to retire a Hawk. But, if it comes to business, I can see us moving on.

    • LordSnow says:

      I’m not so sure I agree amymore with the simple narrative that Kam can’t cover. Watching replays of that NE game, his coverage was amazing on the most unstoppable receiver in football, and consistently amazing.

      We don’t know the communication, the assignments, all of what goes in to the playcalling and whether Kam routinely blew his coverages or not. We don’t know how injured he’s played the past two seasons and how that affected him. As fans, we can only take educated guesses, but one must ask themselves if he was so horrible at coverage, why would you have him on Gronkowski in the key moment of the game?

      I think that the narrative has been too easy and we all have been guilty of pinning a black or white argument on the player while not considering all the potential gray areas.

      • Saxon says:

        Kam is elite in coverage against TEs. Quick slot receivers not so much. Of course, those same slot receivers know he’s patrolling the middle which leads to alligator arms, pissing themselves etc. Still, I agree with line_hawk’s assessment. As great as Kam is in so many ways, we’ve got younger, less injury prone mouths to feed.

    • Smitty1547 says:

      Your post line_hawk best reflects the way i feel about Kam, we have been burned before at back end of careers Lynch and Alexander. I remember when they paid Alexander, i told all who would listen they would have been better off with Hutch.

  11. Adam B says:

    Anyone still calling for Seahawks to move on from Kam after last weeks game, is clearly not paying any attention.

    During the holdout, I too was one of the many clamering for the Hawks front office to explore trades, but I’m more than willing to admit I was completely wrong, and be grateful that cooler heads than mine prevailed while I eat my crow.

    The man is the epitome of a tone setter, a spiritual leader, a player-captain and the human personification of the “boom” in the LOB.

    Seahawk fans should rue the day this man cannot play another down, not contemplating some weak facsimile of a replacement.

    Bam-Bam should retire a Seahawk if there’s any justice in this universe, and I intend to relish each moment in between now and whenever that will be.

  12. Rad man says:

    I’ll be curious to see if C-Mike can latch onto a system better suited for his skill. I don’t think the ZBS plays to his strengths as a player and athlete.

    • Hawktalker says:

      I also hope so. Would love for him to find success with another team.

      But it does seem time for the Seahawk train to move on.

  13. Saxon says:

    I think Kam is destined to become a Deone Buchanon style LB. His speed at safety will eventually become an issue. If the front office agrees the dilemma becomes whether a WLB is worth $$. Nobody is questioning his heart or leadership, but it’s dangerous to ignore age and injury. Ideally he would be a Hawk for life, but his price tag needs to be fair/ realistic.

    At the end of the day we can only pay so many stars. If it’s between Kam and Bennett you have to go MB, imo…

    • Volume12 says:

      It doesn’t have to be an ‘and or’ situation.

      Seattle is roughly $24 mil under the cap right now. With Shead as a RFA. Haushcka and probably McCray are the only priority FAs I think. Combined they won’t take up more than $5 mil.

      Still plenty of shmoney left to extend Bennett, Kam, and either one more guy or add a couple cheap outside FAs. Well, we know they’ll add a D-lineman in FA. They do every year.

      • line_hawk says:

        He is already signed for 2017. So, the cap space he would take up with an extension is for 2018/19 and possibly 20. (If you are only talking about giving him a raise for 2017 and let him test free agency in 2018, that seems more reasonable.)

        Anyway, 2018 and beyond are the years you have to pay your young starts. There is a huge batch of defense hitting free agency in 2019: Avril, Wright, Sherman, Thomas, Clark apart from Lockett, Kearse, Glowinski, etc. Graham, Bennett, Britt are FA in 2018. Bottom line is you cannot just look at 2017 and hand him a huge 3 yr extension that will hurt us from signing other players down the line.

        • Volume12 says:

          No, the bottom line is there’s to much future trippin’. Worry about 2018-’19 in 2-3 years time.

          That’s for this FO and JS to fret over and they’ve done a damn good job of navigating the salary cap era. I trust in him when it comes to this stuff.

        • C-Dog says:

          Not sure Kearse would be high on the list to re-sign, they may choose Clark over Avril by that point, and they could look towards the draft to replace a few others. This year’s draft is loaded at TE, LB, Edge, DL, and DB. So theoretically, a player(s) could be drafted to eventually take over for a few of these guys.

          The team is surely weighing all this out. I think Rob brings up a great point that replacing a player as rare as Kam is not going to be easy. Probably why Carroll has said that they want to make him a Seahawk for Life.

      • Trevor says:

        I agree Vol I think there is room this off season when they cut Webb to extend Bennett, Avril and Kam to cap friendly deals with higher guaranteed money that will allow all 3 to retire as Hawks after the 2019 season with their 3rd SB each.

        I think Avril is every bit as important to re-sign as Bennett and Kam as he has shown zero signs of aging so far and we saw when he went out in the SB what not having him looked like.

  14. Clayton says:

    Kam is my favorite player on the team, but I know it’s a business and every player has a certain value. What if, Cleveland offers its first round pick to Seattle as a part of its rebuild. Would you accept, knowing that this might be the only realistic chance to obtain Leonard Fournette?

    • Clayton says:

      i mean for Kam of course.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Wow – sounds like a deal with the devil. Sure I would give Cleveland Kam and instead of fournette I would pick a top safety to replace him.

        So here’s one for you. Cleveland will give their first round pick for Kam and Tom Cable! ?

    • Trevor says:

      Would never happen. I mean there is less than 0.1% but I think trading a soon to be 30 year old HOF safety for the #1 overall pick is a trade you would have to make no matter how hard it was.

      The fact that you would even have to stop and think about it tells you how important he is to this team.

  15. Alex says:

    I know this is a Kam-centric post, but this Christine Michael news had me thinking about the running back position.

    I know that this is the draft of all drafts for the RB position, but what are the chances the Seahawks ‘Zig’ again while the rest of the NFL ‘Zags’. PCJS drafted 3 running backs last year in an “average RB class”. Would it be shocking to see the Seahawks passing on all running backs this year while the NFL scrambles to find their next feature back?

    It still leaves an open spot with the Seahawks moving on from Michael. After researching on overthecap website, one name stood above the rest as an ideal fit.

    Adrian Peterson.

    AP is due 18 million dollars next season. If cut before June 1, the Vikings would take a $0 cap hit. He WILL get cut. Whether he shows loyalty and agrees to re-sign with Minnesota remains to be seen. However, Peterson is an extremely proud person and an intense competitor.

    Would he really be willing to take a pay cut after all he’s done for the Vikings? Wouldn’t he be intrigued to go to the best medical/sports science staff in the league in Seattle? Surely, his chances of winning a Super bowl improve in Seattle. He can prolong his career for another 3-4 years by sharing some of the load with Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise.

    And how about Seattle’s view….

    You think Pete Carroll would like to have that type of ultimate competitor in his locker room? To me this seems like a match made in heaven. I know he’s 31, going on 32…. but this player is a freak of nature that we’ve never seen previously. Would it shock you if he played well into his 33, 34, and 35 year seasons?

    I think it is worth exploring that angle. Passing on the Nick Chubb’s, the Royce Freeman’s, Wayne Gallman’s and go for the veteran desperate for the championship, and perhaps willing to take a smaller salary to do so.

  16. EranUngar says:

    You are so right Rob….sorry…

    I did not take part in the latest trade Kam talks but i can feel your words directed at me because deep inside i am one of those…

    For years Kam has been “my seahawk”. he embodied everything this team was for me. He was the true essence of this new Seahawks team.

    And then, after that excruciating SB loss, when the team needed him most, he held out. I took it personally. He was my hero, the one i raved about, my Kam betrayed the team. When he came back, my mind saw immediately the effect. I wanted him to do great for the team but i was not routing for wanting Kam to be great. It was routing for that “money first, team 2nd, mercenary” to help my team be great.

    I saw him lead by example first, making all those key plays. I saw him lead with his brain and command the backfield with his knowledge and understanding. I saw him lead this team with his heart. I saw it all and yet it was easy for me to think about this team without Kam. I knew that the defense would be worse without him but maybe that money would help the OL greatly etc.

    It no longer felt like tearing a limb from my body. It was just Kam, a great player that I’ll never trust again or except for what he is for us.

    He was injured again and i didn’t treat it like every other injury. It was “great” now he actually costs us over 10 M for 16 games.

    I saw what happen to the defense without him. I saw what happened to the whole team without him and I saw what happened when he returned.

    I may never feel about Kam the way did before the holdout but i grudgingly except that he is irreplaceable for this team. He is one of a kind and we should strive to keep for as long as humanly possible.

    Damn you Kam, why did you hold out? why?

  17. Trevor says:

    Rob when people talk about finding the replacement for Kam for me it is not only the physical skill set. His biggest attribute by far IMO is to lead and organize this Defense. There is just a different feel of confidence and organization when he plays. This has become obvious in the games he has missed. As great as Earl is he is he plays on instinct and is not a QB in the backend.

    This makes it very hard when looking at prospects who could be an eventual replacement when Kam retires as a Hawk and HOFer with two more SBs!!!

    How do you gauge players leadership skills when doing your analysis? Is it just what you see and here in media?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s difficult — the only things I look for are presence on the field, how players gravitate to a player, how he speaks during interviews, what the coaches say about him etc.

      For example — it was pretty evident how important Keanu Neal was to Florida as a leader and a physical tone setter. It’s not always that easy to diagnose. Plus he was an exceptional interview and had a clear passion for the game.

  18. Trevor says:

    Loyalty is something that has been lost in todays professional sports world. That is why I found Romos speech / comments yesterday so refreshing and made me have far greater appreciation. As a Hawks fan it is one things I love about our organization. IMO they are more loyal and treat their players better than any team in the NFL.

    Most teams would have cut or traded Kam when he held out. I think that Pete and JS trully do care about these guys and there is an emotional investment. I don’t think that is just lip service and the owner Paul Allen is a class act all the way.

    When I think of Seahawks legends I think of 4 players Largent, Jones, Easley and Kennedy. The one common theme along with their greatness on the feild was that they all played with one teams and retired as Hawks.

    I really hope that somehow that this core can to the same. I know it is probably not possible in today’s NFL but as a fan it would be nice. I know Bennet and Beast Mode started elsewhere but became stars as Hawks. If they can win at least one more SB maybe 2 then all would be HOFers IMO.

    -Beastmode
    -Kam
    -Bennett
    -Russ
    -Earl
    -Sherm
    -Wags
    ? Baldwin,Avril

    • Michael M. says:

      I think Bennett and Avril got started a little late to warrant any HOF consideration, baring a really great late career surge. They also don’t rack up the video game sack numbers in this defense, so that won’t help.

      Russ, Earl and Sherm are virtual locks assuming their careers follow a typical curve.

      Wags needs to stay healthier and string together a good long run of consecutive seasons without extended missed time, and probably needs to step out of the shadow -leadership wise- of some of the other great players on our D. It is called the hall of FAME after all, so I think he would at least need a season or three of being the best defensive player on his own team.

      Baldwin and Kam are the most intriguing. Kam has a ton going for him, but I think he’ll need to defy the odds a bit and continue his current level of play for at least another 3-4 years, or have one really huge year where he gets some DPOY votes. Either one could very well happen, and I hope it does.

      Baldwin… The deck is stacked against him. Run heavy offense, doesn’t have the top 10 pedegree or that typical #1 WR mystique of a Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and in all likelihood has already posted the best season of his career (last year). That said – I would almost be shocked if he didn’t end up in the HOF. The reason he and Sherm are my two favorite Seahawks is that I just can’t imagine them accepting anything less than a legendary career. I think Doug ends up playing well into his late 30’s, spends his entire career as a Seahawk, and he and Russ go into the hall together.

      • 503Hawk says:

        Just saw your comments. Well thought out.
        As Rob said the other day, enjoy the ride, we may never, ever see another collection of talent and success like we have now!

  19. Cysco says:

    Kam’s play on the field against NE was All-Pro caliber. His leadership warrants a C on his jersey.

    (tying in the C-Mike news…) Once again the FO has shown that it is ruthless when it comes to improving the team. (this is not to be mistaken for not caring about players) If there is a better player, they will take your spot. Period. Right now, there’s no one better than Kam on this roster. Heck there are probably less than a handful of players across the league who are better. It is likely that the team will be looking to find competition for Kam, but to think that competition, over the next couple years, is going to win his spot is just silly.

    Kam will get an extension. If anything, his contract might be reworked to free up even more cash this offseason. Unless he tries to be too aggressive with negotiating a new deal, Kam will be here for at least two more years. Probably three.

    • 503Hawk says:

      …and Kam will hopefully retire a Seahawk.
      He is my current favorite Seahawk on a very short list.
      Steve Largent
      Kenny Easley
      Cortez Kennedy
      Walter Jones
      Marshawn Lynch
      See the common denominators? Dominant “game changers”!!! All leaders in their own way. All HoF’ers.

  20. vrtkolman says:

    Great article Rob. I was out of town and missed the game (imagine my surprise at the final score), so after watching the game this morning I think you might be right. The defense as a whole seems to play with more fire when Kam is in there. Make no mistake, Brady was on point but still finished with no touchdowns and 1 INT. At home! All of his throws downfield required pin point accuracy and timing. Kam may not be a top coverage safety, but he makes enough splash plays to overcome that.

    • vrtkolman says:

      In terms of Michael, you could tell going as far back as to the Jets game that the coaches weren’t all that pleased with him. Prosise looks like an inexperienced Le’Veon Bell, he needs to improve his pass protection in a big way but he looks like a playmaker going forward.

      • Cysco says:

        RE Prosise, I was just about to post that I didn’t think Prosise had the size to handle a workload like Bell’s, but then decided I should check myself. Wouldn’t you know, they have identical size (6’1 220). Funny, Prosise doesn’t look like he runs utilizing that size if that makes any sense.

        For me, the comparison I keep coming up with is what the Rams have always wanted to to do with Tavon Austin. Multi-threat that can move all around the field. Makes me laugh that in his first start, Prosise probably had a better game than any in Austin’s career thus far.

        Will be interesting to see if the Hawks feature any plays where Prosise and Rawls are on the field at the same time. I could imagine some creative ways to use them both and I could see it being a nightmare to defend.

        • vrtkolman says:

          Yeah I see what you mean. It’s kinda funny that Austin still hasn’t learned how to run routes in the NFL. For me, the Bell comparison comes from how they setup their runs. They both run upright and their eyes are looking downfield. They just look taller on the field than other backs if that makes sense. Both are very patient and then slash forward quickly for positive gains. The difference is Bell turns those into 15-20 yard runs while Prosise is getting 5-7 yards. I agree that Prosise doesn’t really utilize his size yet, but once he learns to lower his shoulder on contact he’ll look better than he does right now.

          • Michael (CLT) says:

            It took Bell a full off season to get to those 15-20 yard runs. My neighbor is a die hard Steelers fan (Stiller’s is how he pronounces it… weird).

            I think the big runs are a year away.

            • Michael (CLT) says:

              Wow. Lost my train of thought…

              The neighbor loathed Bell his rookie year. He has conveniently forgot about his complaints since :).

              Working on my grammar and ability to complete coherent thoughts. Thanks for everyone’s patience!

  21. Mark J. says:

    I’ve always held this sentiment, also. Chancellor is probably the central personality on the Seahawks defense.

    The holdout of 2015 hurt and I think Seattle would have gotten playoffs home field advantage and another Super Bowl appearance if not for that.

    Also, I LOVE the crazy eyed Rawls in the video! I hope he returns to great success this weekend.

    • Rad man says:

      I think the incredibly moronic decision to start a defensive lineman at Center for half the season, and shuffle the positions weeks before the start of the season, played a huge part in that. I fault Cable’s cockiness as much as Kam’s stupidity for the terribly start.

  22. Radman says:

    Also one of my favorite players . I’ve no doubt that kam has been a key cog in the machine here. And he is no doubt a difference maker. But I don’t have any doubts that someone else would fill the void if he was gone. They didn’t build this roster, team, and locker room to be totally dependent on 1 guy for leadership or for execution. The nature of group dynamics is that roles get filled. Kam is the leader now but there’s no shortage of leaders on this team or defense. Pete tells us that almost every week and we shouldn’t ignore it . And pulling the stunt he pulled last year isn’t exactly a shining example of leadership, in fact quite the opposite. Let’s remember that despite all his womderful qualities he did just pull an incredibly selfish move in the absolute thick of a championship window.

    At any rate. I’m very glad he’s back. He’s a true difference maker and if he can manage to stay healthy for the remainder of his contract there’s a very good chance he’ll get another big one here.

    • 503Hawk says:

      I’ve always wondered if the “diva” Marshawn influenced him. I also believe that Pete has reached Kam’s heart and that they are “one” now in thought and purpose. Seems that Kam is one of Pete’s favs.

  23. Michael (CLT) says:

    Dear Seahawks.

    Please keep this defense together until the wheels fall off. Then, start over.

    Thanks.

    Michael

  24. Paul d says:

    I agree with all of what you, Rob, wrote save the bit about $26.5 being enough to resign our “heart beat” defenders with cash to spare. I heard through the grapevine that Bennett and Avril would like to resign with the same team because they play so well together. I think they would be willing to give the Seahawks a little hometown discount (emphasis on the word little — cue the photo of Tate with his thumb and forefinger very close together).

    The reason why Kam held out is because he is wildly underpaid and felt underappreciated. Hasselbeck knows a thing or two about this league – Kam may very be worth twice what they pay him. All this talk about his age is silly – 28 years old is an athlete’s physical peak. Of the three, I think Avril may be the most susceptible to a production drop off with age. Bennett and Chancellor rely more on strength and guile, imho.

    Note that Matt H didn’t except Sherman with his $14M salary as the most important player our defense. In the current NFL with an increasing cap, all these guys may be $14M players. They are not going to agree on short extensions which will allow a team to cut them/slash their salary the minute that their skills decline. They are difference makers who singlehandedly take over games and it is imperative that we lock them up while we go on a 3 or 4 year championship run. These deals are going to break the bank and the Schneider and his capologists are going to have their work cut out for them.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Possibly — but Schneider and co. also have a key advantage. Firstly, all three players are contracted in 2017 so they’re not obliged to do anything. Avril’s deal doesn’t actually run out until 2019 so there’s no pressure there. Any pay rise would be a bonus or gesture — they’re not obligated to double his salary.

      In the case of Bennett — he has tested free agency twice during his prime years and nobody offered him big money. One of the reasons Olivier Vernon got a huge deal is because he was only 25-years-old. Bennett turned 31 last week. I can’t imagine he’s going to get more on the open market compared to what Seattle is willing to pay aged 32.

      Chancellor is a trickier one because he hasn’t tested FA before so we don’t know how in-demand he would be. I think if he gets a deal with some up front money and the flexibility to retire in 2-3 years that would appease him. That might mean $10m instead of $8m next year and the same in 2018, possibly all guaranteed. That’s only taking an extra $2m off the cap. Bennett might be worth $12m a year — that adds $4.5m to the cap. You might want to give Avril $10m as a gesture (why not? He’s earned it) and that adds $2.5m.

      The grand total of these pay increases is an extra $9m to the cap in 2017. That would still leave you with around $17.5m to spend.

  25. 503Hawk says:

    Just saw that Pope has been put on the 53 man roster.

    • vrtkolman says:

      In Pete’s press conference, he said they hoped they could have stashed him on their PS after the preseason. They miscalculated that but some good fortune struck and they were able to get him back.

  26. STTBM says:

    Rob, I love your passionate defense of Kam Chancellor. I agree, he is the heart and soul of this defense, and perhaps the entire team and we need him. Despite the fact that any thought of moving on from Kam is painful to contemplate, I do not want to see him leave. I just felt its looking more and more likely that Seattle moves on in the near future, given a number of issues that I stated in previous comments. And as I said, I would love to be wrong and see him play for several more years here.

    And to me there is nothing negative about discussing whether or not they keep him, because its simply playing armchair GM/guessing what Seattle will do moving forward. Again, my preference is to keep him at least another year at the rate he’s contracted for, hopefully longer. I think that didnt come through as I wish it had in our earlier discussion.

    While Bennett missed three games in the past and is missing some this year, Kam has not only missed more games but played a number of games each season bothered by injuries. This is a double-edges sword, showing Kams toughness, dedication, etc but also showing age creeping up on him; he has played multiple games each year where his performance was obviously affected by various nagging injuries.

    Wagners time missed came while he was young, and isnt tied in to his body breaking down with age, as it may be with Kam. Seattle counted on that when they signed him to an extension. And as you say, as great as Bennett is playing, his injuries this year at his age may make them hesitate to give him a big money extension–though Im hopeful it wont; I believe his injuries are simply from bad breaks and not a sign of advancing age.

    He played amazingly in the Detroit game and in the Minny playoff game last year, but in between were several games where he didnt play up to par and struggled in coverage more than was his wont in years past. Unlike Chancellor, he has gotten better with age rather than seeing his performance diminish.

    All that said, its become apparent that Seattle needs fiery leadership and the coaches are searching for it. The excitement Carrol shows over Rawls return and the gushing over Kam are indicative of just how badly Seattle needs the attitude those two bring to drive this team forward into a championship season.

    Congratulations to Kam on winning NFC Defensive Player of the Week! That WAS a fantastic game by him, perhaps his best since the SB vs the Broncos. If he can do half as much and play at a similar consistency, it really will be madness to contemplate Seattle moving on.

  27. STTBM says:

    And for the record, I have not called for Bevell to be fired. Cable I still have severely mixed feelings for, but firing anyone mid-season is stupidity itself and only for serious disasters.