How much longer can the Seattle Seahawks wait before determining Kam Chancellor won’t be beginning the regular season with them?
How late is too late for Chancellor, not fill-in Dion Bailey, to play strong safety in the opener Sept. 13?
Coach Pete Carroll listened to that question, paused, then said for the second time in three minutes: “Nothing’s changed.”
That was Monday, the 25th day of the team leader’s holdout from this preseason.
His protracted stance could cost the star strong safety fines now approaching the maximum preseason sanction of $1.14 million as defined by the league’s collective bargaining agreement: $30,000 per day times 38 days of training camp that ends with the start of the regular season next month.
Article 4, Section 9.a.ii of that CBA effective August, 2011, states if “such absence continues into the regular season ... the player may be required to forfeit an additional 25 (percent) of (his prorated signing bonus) upon missing the first regular season game. If such absence continues beyond the fourth week of the regular season, the player may be required to forfeit up to ... one-seventeenth (of his prorated signing bonus) for each missed regular season week after the fourth week.”
For Chancellor, that means he could get fined an addition $250,000 if he still hasn’t reported to the team by its Sept. 13 opener at St. Louis, and another $58,824 per game (1/17th of his $1 million prorated signing bonus for 2015, on the $5 million signing bonus he got on his extension before the 2013 season) beginning after Seattle’s Monday night home game Oct. 5 against Detroit.
Not that the Seahawks would likely ever try to collect that.
The CBA article on holdouts and fines also makes clear “the maximum permitted forfeitures described below do not in any way obligate any ... Club to agree to any forfeiture.”
But the Seahawks remain dug in on their stance of not re-doing contracts that still have multiple years left on them — and certainly not three seasons, as Chancellor’s does through 2017. If the team were to set that precedent with Chancellor, general manager John Schneider would have a conga line of veteran starters lining up outside his door in the future wanting to get theirs now, too, demanding guaranteed cash now no matter how many seasons a player has remaining on his contract.
Chancellor sees his career mortality in clearer terms more than ever. Though “just” 27, his body is much older. This is the first of six NFL offseasons he hasn’t had a surgery, yet that was after he played the Super Bowl Feb. 1 with a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee. He doesn’t know how many seasons he may have left in his battered body beyond this one, so he understandably wants to get any and all the cash he can.
The Seahawks also know Chancellor’s thumping, painful style may not enable him to play many more seasons. That is why they didn’t give him any more guaranteed money in his 2013 extension beyond this season’s $4.55 million base salary with $4.45 million of it guaranteed. They didn’t want to guarantee 2016 and ‘17 seasons that the team, and even perhaps Chancellor himself, aren’t convinced he’ll be physically able to play.
CONCERNED CARROLL CALLS NFL
When Sam Bradford got hit low by Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs on Saturday in an exhibition game in Philadelphia after handing off on a read-option play, Carroll felt it across the country.
The referee flagged Suggs for roughing the passer, but on Monday the NFL’s director of officiating Dean Blandino told its network Suggs should not have been penalized because “it’s not a foul by rule.”
A couple hours later Carroll was coming off the practice field on his way into his office to call the league to ensure it was doing something to address what he sees as unnecessary hits on quarterbacks.
Carroll’s interest in the subject is obvious. Seattle runs quarterback Russell Wilson on read-option, handoff-or-keep plays as much as, or more than, any team.
“I have seen a couple of them and I really thought they were worthy of being noted as penalty plays,” Carroll said of such hits on quarterbacks. “Obviously we’re really tuned into that.
“We’re counting on the league to do a really good job of doing that well so we take care of the QBs. You can force this thing about they’re a runner. When they don’t have the ball in their hands and the ball is already handed off and gone, guys need to make good decisions, hopefully. So we’ll be very much part of that discussion if things continue like it’s going, because it’s not right.
“We have been involved with that discussion with the league since Russell has been here ... I’m anxious to see what comes of it because certainly it’s not the way we want it to go.”
Carroll said the league usually sends teams updates on what its officials are emphasizing in a given week.
“I’ll be really surprised if we don’t get something from them about it (this week),” he said.
DBs Richard Sherman, Will Blackmon, Tharold Simon and Marcus Burley all were back at practice off injuries. Expect all to play Saturday’s third exhibition game at San Diego. … Carroll said free-agent G Evan Mathis’ visit to the Seahawks went “very well” Saturday and that the 33-year-old two-time Pro Bowl selection “would obviously bring us experience.” But “there’s a lot of issues” – including how relatively little Seattle can pay him. … Carroll also said the starting offensive line last week, consisting of LT Russell Okung, LG Justin Britt, C Drew Nowak, RG J.R. Sweezy and RT Garry Gilliam have “a real chance” to start the regular season, provided this week goes well.