It’s perhaps one of the most intriguing questions in the NFL this off season; should the Seahawks trade Kam Chancellor?
A year ago it would be inconceivable, even sacrilege, to suggest or even consider whether the Seahawks should trade Kam Chancellor. But that was then. That was before the Pro Bowl strong safety decided to blindside the organization by holding out and skipping all of training camp. Then when he took his holdout into the regular season it contributed greatly to the team’s surprising 0-2 start. The season was an uphill battle from there and the Hawks never truly recovered before being bounced from the playoffs by Carolina in the divisional round.
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You all know the story well; Chancellor, feeling like he’s outperformed his current contract and worried that there was no guaranteed money in the last two years of his deal, spent the entire off season talking about healthy and happy he was, only to pull his no-show right before training camp. He said all the right things upon returning, but there was a sense that he had done some damage to his role as a leader on the team. He wasn’t as vocal off the field as in the past, and his play on the field didn’t exactly hold up to the helmet-cracking intimidation he had established in the first six years of his career. To put it bluntly, he didn’t play as well. Holding out did his body no favors either as he battled nagging injuries his first couple of games back and then missed 3 games with an injured tailbone down the stretch.
And a funny thing happened in those games that he missed. Kelcie McCray, acquired in a trade with Kansas City just before the opener in part to help fill the void left by Kam’s absence, played exceptionally well in his place. In fact, McCray proved to be an upgrade over Chancellor in the one area that Kam struggles the most, pass coverage. The Seahawks continually got beat by good TE’s this season, and much of that responsibility falls in the strong safety’s lap. For all of his hard hits, Chancellor has always been mediocre at best, and at times a liability, in the passing game.
This off season the Seahawks face a number of opportunities to help rearrange and control their salary cap. Marshawn Lynch will likely be gone, and offensive linemen Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy are free agents. Brandon Mebane’s big salary is off the books, although he’ll likely be re signed at a lower number, and OLB Bruce Irvin is expected to chase big dollars elsewhere. But moving Chancellor this spring makes practical sense from a number of angles:
- Even at just 27 years of age, the ferocity with which he plays the game is going to take it’s toll on his body, if it hasn’t already
- McCray is the same age, has proven capable of playing well at that spot, and will cost just $675,000 in 2016.
- Moving on from Kam and rewarding defensive tackle Michael Bennett would sent a strong message to the Seahawks locker room. Bennett was vocal last summer about his displeasure with his deal, and like Kam he had three years remaining on his contract. But Bennett showed up to camp on time and proceeded to have his best year as a pro. The contrasting styles with which the two stars went about their business was certainly not lost on the Seahawks front office.
Chancellor is set to make $5.1 million this season, none of it guaranteed. Trading him could net the team the kind of mid-round draft pick they covet so much while also buying them $4.1 million in cap relief. That money could go a long way towards helping fill some holes up front on both sides of the ball.
Like I said, it may have seemed like an insane suggestion a year ago, but after what we’ve all seen since Kam chose to skip training camp, would anyone be all that surprised if the Seahawks indeed chose to trade their strong safety?