Could John Schneider Release Kam Chancellor?

Oct 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) forces a fumble by Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) forces a fumble by Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

I preface this post by thanking Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta for replying to a tweet on his Twitter account. The tweet was talking about the June 1 NFL deadline. He was replying to a person asking why June 1 was such an important date. The person was asking why the Seahawks might be waiting to announce a decision on Colin Kaepernick’s possible signing.

Could Chancellor be released?

Let me be clear, I am not saying the Seahawks should release Kam Chancellor or will. I am only saying that any possibility exists.

The Seahawks currently have a little over $8.7 million left under the cap. This ranks them 21st overall, which isn’t bad. They may need some of that cap space to pay a free agent or two (Kaepernick?). Mostly, though, Seattle needs to pay for one or two contract extensions. Chancellor, for instance, is in the final year of his contract.

Here is how Over The Cap defines why the June 1 deadline is important to all 32 NFL teams:

"“For many teams June 2 will open up significant cap room. This is because players designated a ‘June 1’ cut in the off season will finally come off the books for those teams. The off season June 1 designation is used when players do not factor into a team’s future plans but the team is usually unable to release the player due to the high “dead money” charge associated with the contract, which, in many cases, would make the team no longer salary cap compliant. Often the team does not wait until June 1 to make the move in order to avoid guarantees kicking in (usually the first week of free agency by sometimes as late as April), roster bonuses from being earned (almost exclusively in the first week or free agency) or non-exercise fees from option bonuses to be made. Prior to June 1 the players’ entire salary cap charge remains on the books even though they are no longer on the team. On June 2 only the current years’ proration will remain on the books with the balance being charged to (the next season).”"

What does this mean to the Seahawks?

So, which guys fit the June 1 designation profile with a low dead money and high cap savings? According to OTC:

"Kam Chancellor, SS: Kam “Godzilla” Chancellor has a $1M dead money number and a whopping $7M cap savings if he is released before June 1. WOW! I know that there’s been some rumblings about Kam’s health mainly due to the many hits he’s given over the last few seasons. As we all know Kam isn’t happy about his contract and even though he was mad, he played a good soldier last season and is now up for an extension."

Kam has been to the Pro Bowl 4 times and named to the All-Pro team 3 times. But statistically, his numbers have dropped since 2014. His best season (by the numbers) was in 2011. That year, he accrued 95 tackles (73 solo), 4 INT, 2 forced fumbles and played in 15 total games.

His worst statistical season was in 2015. He only played in 11 total games. Chancellor only accounted for 72 tackles (42 solo). He had half the interceptions as his best season (2) and half the forced fumbles as 2011 (1).

If the Seahawks were to release Kam, who would they put in his place? Delano Hill is a rookie. Even though he is highly coveted by the team, there’s little confidence that he could make up for the intimidating force for which Kam has been known. Hill would also lack the communication experience it takes to make the defense click.

The bigger reality of Kam

Again, I don’t believe that Kam is even in the discussion to be released. There would have to be some really strong reasoning behind releasing one of the guys that helps define this team. If the Seahawks believe Kam is holding back and playing tentatively for fear of injury, they could release him.  I think the Seahawks will find a way to re-sign Kam to a 3 or 4-year extension deal sometime this season, though.

At minimum, I could see the team ride out Kam’s contract this year and not re-sign him. Seattle could see how Hill does during the season. Hill could then compete for the starting job in 2018.

Other possible Chancellor replacements

Impending free agent TJ McDonald of the LA Rams had his best season in 2014 (84 solo tackles) but has slowly declined since then.

Morgan Burnett (Green Bay, 6’1″) also had his best season in 2014, amassing over 104 solo tackles. Like Kam, his current team has seen his numbers dwindle over the past two seasons.

Either way, I learned a lot about the June 1 designation through researching this post. Plus, John Schneider’s never really done in molding this team to become the champion it now is on an annual basis.

Related Story: What other players might the Seahawks explore releasing?