A tale of two holdouts: Lynch vs. Chancellor

Salary cap logoFor those wondering why the Seahawks don’t just accommodate Kam Chancellor, as they did Marshawn Lynch last year, it is worth pointing out that there are some big differences in their situations.

Lynch had two years left on his contract, and speculation was swirling that the Seahawks might part with him after the 2014 season. So, he just wanted to get some kind of financial commitment out of the Hawks.

The team offered to convert $1 million in game roster bonuses and incentives in 2014 to guaranteed money, along with $500,000 from his 2015 salary. Even as Lynch held out for the first week of training camp, they reportedly did not budge off the original offer from earlier in the offseason. And they also had threatened to follow through on their right to fine him if he did not report after the first week.

Lynch basically got a $500,000 bump last season — but it came from the 2015 salary. Of course, he ended up signing a new three-year deal this offseason anyway.

There is much less wiggle room for Chancellor.

He has three years left on the five-year, $29 million deal he signed in 2013, and he simply is unhappy that his 2014 pay will be $4.55 million — even though it is nearly all guaranteed and he already has made $12.5 the past two seasons.

He reportedly wants the Seahawks to pay it forward — turning most of his $4.55 million for this year and $5.1 million for 2016 into a signing bonus. The Hawks aren’t going to do that because it would mean they would have to do it for Michael Bennett and any other star who grew unhappy with his deal at some point (which is all of them).

The Hawks reportedly might consider a very team-friendly contract extension that essentially would keep Chancellor under contract for the rest of his career (or — let’s be real — until Seattle let him go). But — beyond their love for Chancellor’s leadership, ability and passion — the Hawks have no incentive to accommodate him.

They also surely are wary of his health — the four-year veteran has never finished an NFL season without major injuries (hip, ankles, knee, etc.). He actually managed to avoid surgery this offseason for the first time in his career, but the simple fact is that his body is not going to last too much longer. It’s easy to see him out of the game in three or four years, so why would the Hawks sign him for longer than that?

The salary cap is another issue. The 2016 cap already is dwindling in the wake of new deals for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, and the Hawks will have to walk a fine line just to re-sign some of their free agents next offseason.

Granted, new extensions for Chancellor and Bennett might actually give the Hawks more cap space for next year. But the negative precedent of redoing deals just a year into them outweighs any cap benefit for Seattle.

Besides, the Hawks have reason to be confident that Chancellor will report fairly soon — he reportedly is very engaged in what is going on with the team, viewing practice film and coaching fill-in starter DeShawn Shead outside the lines.

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