The Seahawks’ two defensive leaders returned to action Tuesday as the Seahawks started a short minicamp, and both were a sight for fans’ sore eyes — Thomas at a self-described 80 percent coming back from a broken leg and Chancellor back from double ankle surgery.
It’s a great sign for Seattle’s defense in 2017 — and potentially beyond. The futures of both safeties were hot topics after practice, with Thomas hinting he plans to play well beyond the last two years of his deal and Chancellor and Pete Carroll both addressing a possible extension for the strong safety this offseason.
Carroll repeated what he has said more than once already about a new deal for Chancellor: “We would very much like to work something out. We’re working at it. That’s really all we’ll say, but we are working at it with every intention of taking care of this business. It takes awhile. These things take a while. His frame of mind and our frame of mind is in a really good place and we’re going to work hard to get something done as soon as we can.”
Chancellor said: “I trust their word. I trust what they say. I’ll let it happen when it’s supposed to happen, and all I can do is control what I can control right now, and that’s playing on the field and keeping that camaraderie together with my brothers and just keep building.”
Chancellor could end up being a difficult extension. He is still the No. 3-paid strong safety in the NFL, but Miami’s Reshad Jones — drafted 30 spots after Chancellor in 2010 — just got a deal worth $12 million a year. Tony Jefferson joined Baltimore at $8.5 million per year. Each is guaranteed about $19 million, so that seems to be the key number for Chancellor talks.
Do the Hawks want to pay that to a 29-year-old safety whose body is more like 34 — and aging exponentially? Is Chancellor’s leadership worth that for another three years (if his body lasts that long)?
A new deal for Thomas figures to be even more costly next year. Asked what changed his mind about considering retiring, he said, “It was a little bit of everything. I just felt like it wasn’t time. I saw Eric Berry get that huge deal, and there ain’t never enough of that.”
Berry signed a six-year, $78 million deal to stay with the Chiefs this offseason, and Thomas seems to be targeting that for his third NFL deal. He is halfway through the four-year, $40 million extension he signed in 2014.
If Thomas comes back strong this year, the Hawks certainly will want to talk about a third contract.
The team added three safeties this offseason — potential backups and/or replacements for Thomas and Chancellor. But the two Pro Bowl vets made it clear Tuesday that they aren’t going anywhere yet — and might not be for a few more years.