Kam Chancellor “absolutely” will remain a Seahawk in 2016.
Coach Pete Carroll says Seattle wants him and teammate Michael Bennett to remain on the team until they are done playing football.
Garry Gilliam is moving from right tackle to left tackle in the first step to replace departed free-agent Russell Okung.
General manager John Schneider and Carroll are “going to keep staying together” to lead Seattle beyond 2016.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
And Marshawn Lynch still hasn’t sent the Seahawks his retirement papers while he’s been “out of the country riding camels and stuff.” But that doesn’t mean anything more than Lynch being Lynch.
Those were the highlights of what Schneider — and Carroll, in an interview with NFL Network — said to the media at the NFL owners’ meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday.
Schneider addressed Chancellor’s unhappiness with his contract that has two, non-guaranteed seasons remaining on it. The star strong safety is due salaries of $5.1 million this upcoming season and $6.8 million in 2017. He held out more than 50 days through training camp and the first two regular-season games last season — both losses.
Chancellor missed three other games because of injury and didn’t play consistently at his usual excellence, yet he did get voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time.
Last week, amid unfounded trade rumors, he went to social media to show he wants to stay a Seahawk. He posted on his Instagram account a picture with the words “I’m not going anywhere,” and typed with it: “Seattle is my Second home. I don’t plan on going anywhere unless some higher power places me elsewhere.. #Loyalty #12s #LOB”
“Kam is an extremely prideful, spiritual person,” Schneider told reporters Tuesday, according to ESPN.
When asked if anything had been done financially to make Chancellor more content for the coming season, Schneider said: “There’s a lot of family things that stay in house. That’s one of them.
“I can’t speak more highly of a guy. It was a tough, tough thing for everybody to go through last year, so I’m glad he feels that way.”
Schneider was asked if there’s any doubt Chancellor will be on the team in 2016.
“Yeah, he’s a Seahawk, absolutely,” he said.
Bennett is also unhappy with his contract that has two years remaining on it. But he didn’t hold out last season, playing every game and through pain while getting a career-high 10 sacks and his first Pro Bowl selection.
In his interview, Carroll said of both Bennett and Chancellor: “We have a lot of stuff that we’re dealing with in putting our roster together. Those guys know that. We’ve been in contact with these guys throughout so they know what’s going on.
“And we’re going to do everything we can to keep them with us for as long as they’ll play football.”
Okung signed last week with Denver on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $5 million to potentially $8 million. The Broncos then have a team option for four more years after 2016 for what could be a total contract of $53 million.
Schneider and the Seahawks weren’t going to come close to that, not with only about $8 million or so remaining under their salary cap for 2016. They still need to spend a couple million on next month’s draft picks and subsequent free-agent signings into the summer.
So now they turn to Gilliam, Schneider said. The college tight end for 3½ seasons at Penn State spent his second NFL year as a first-time starting right tackle in 2015. Now Gilliam is moving to the left side to compete with Bradley Sowell, Seattle’s free-agent signing last week from Arizona for one year at $1.5 million.
That leaves J’Marcus Webb with a shot as Seattle’s new starting right tackle. The Seahawks signed Webb last week to a two-year contract at starter money: $6.25 million total with $2.5 million guaranteed. If Seattle decides to keep Justin Britt, the 2014 rookie starting right tackle, as the starting left guard this fall, Webb is in position to start at right tackle. He played three games there for Oakland last season and 12 games there for Chicago as a rookie in 2010. He started the 2011 and ’12 seasons at left tackle for the Bears.
As for Lynch, he’s still on the Seahawks’ roster. The team has yet to put the running back on its reserve/retired list because he has yet to submit his official papers that he is in fact retired, as he declared during February’s Super Bowl by tweeting a picture of his green cleats hanging from a wire.
Is there a reason Lynch hasn’t filed his retirement papers?
“Not really,” Schneider told reporters. “We just haven’t received his papers yet. He’s been out of the country riding camels and stuff.”
Schneider was referring to Lynch traveling on a goodwill trip to Egypt last month with a group called American Football Without Barriers.
There are financial benefits to the Seahawks waiting until after June 1 to put him on the reserve/retired list. They could then spread the $5 million left on his prorated signing bonus evenly over the final two years of his contract ending after the 2017 season. That would have only $2.5 million count this season and $2.5 million count in 2017 instead of all $5 million count this year.
The downside of that is with Lynch still technically on the roster until he submits that retirement paperwork, his $11.5 million charge is still counting against Seattle’s cap for 2016.
Schneider told reporters the Seahawks haven’t decided whether to make Lynch’s official retirement move after June 1. He’s also not sure the team is at a point where it needs to clear a couple million dollars in cap space through accounting nuances with Lynch’s retirement.
Schneider and Carroll arrived together to build their Seahawks regime in January 2010. They received contract extensions in 2014, which end after the 2016 season.
But their extensions don’t appear to be a matter of “if” but simply “when.” Seahawks owner Paul Allen isn’t about to let the architects of Seattle’s first-time Super Bowl champion, one that’s made the playoffs in five of the duo’s six years leading the team, enter lame-duck seasons with their contracts dangling.
“Pete and I have a great relationship, and we are just in a really good spot,” Schneider said. “We are just going to keep staying together and keep doing what we are doing and see how long we can make it last.
“Both Pete and I, we love doing what we are doing, and we are happy. It’s not really a story. We just love working together.”