The Seahawks got Russell Wilson signed just in time, but Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett all are unhappy and showing it in different ways.
It’s funny how back-to-back Super Bowls can make people feel entitled — all three of those guys are signed, Chancellor and Bennett very recently, but they all feel like they deserve more than they agreed to.
Basically, they are flipping the script — knowing NFL teams can cut them at any time and trying to use the power of their all-star play as leverage before they lose it. Pete Carroll understands.
“They’re trying to make the most of their opportunity and trying to figure out what’s best for them,” he said after the Hawks finished their first practice Friday. “They’re difficult decisions, and they’re hard for them.
“Sometimes when they sign, they love what they sign, and it just looks different after a while,” Carroll said, referencing how contracts quickly become undervalued in the constantly growing NFL economy. “I’m compassionate towards these guys.”
Bennett and Wagner thought about holding out, but they both reported — if somewhat begrudgingly. Chancellor, the late arrival to this pity party, decided to stay away.
So how is this going to play out? Can the Hawks really please them all?
Wagner sounded fairly pessimistic about a deal, declaring the deadline is “now” after tweeting in the wake of Wilson’s signing, “Can’t keep everyone.”
But Carroll was pretty emphatic about the fact that the Seahawks plan to sign him soon.
“We’re on it,” Carroll said. “Whoever thought that we were done with that thing, that was not right. We’re on it, and we’re going to keep competing to get that done. We have planned for this for a long time, and nothing has changed at all in that. Our guys are working at it by the hour.”
Carroll also seemed to indicate the Hawks were willing to adjust Chancellor’s contract, which will pay him $4.55 million this year and which has fallen to eighth among safeties in annual average.
Carroll said he has been “messaging back and forth” with Chancellor, whom he called “an amazing Seahawk. He has been a great part of this team. We love him in every way. He stands for exactly what we love about this game and about being a Seahawk and playing for us. Our hearts are with him. We want to make something happen. We want him back here immediately, if we can get it done. We’re going to try to figure it out as we go through it.”
It almost sounds like Carroll has told general manager John Schneider to find a way to make the Pro Bowl safety happy. But, more likely, Carroll and Schneider are probably going to tell Chancellor and Bennett they will discuss reworking their deals after this season.
Bennett told The Seattle Times he has received no promises, adding, “The best-case scenario is I play this season out and see what happens after that.”
In the meantime, the Seahawks have around $4 million in cap space left this year. Wilson’s $87.6 million contract, which reportedly included a $31 million signing bonus and $61.5 million guaranteed, will count $7.05 million in 2015.
A deal for Wagner probably would include a $10 million signing bonus, thus eating another $2 million of the cap.
The Hawks would need to create another $2 million or so to have the necessary cash for practice squad and injury replacements throughout the season.
If they wanted to, they could get that by reworking the deals of Bennett and/or Chancellor, adding a year or two, lowering 2015 salary and giving them pay raises in the form of signing bonuses. That would serve the dual purpose of creating cap space while appeasing the unhappy players.
Of course, it also would open the door for everyone to walk in and ask for a redo one or two years into their contracts.
In the end, the Hawks probably will find that cap money elsewhere (Brandon Mebane or Jermaine Kearse?), and they will not touch Bennett or Chancellor’s deals until next offseason.
So, it’s one down — and probably only one to go.