By John Boyle
The Seahawks didn’t quietly announce that they had signed Kam Chancellor to a four-year contract extension; they made a big deal out of it, bringing the Pro Bowl safety in for a press conference with both head coach Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and even having Chancellor hold up his No. 31 jersey for pictures.
This was an important day for the Seahawks, and they wanted to make sure everyone knows it. Yeah, Seattle made a bunch of splashy moves this offseason, trading for Percy Harvin and signing top free agents like Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Antoine Winfield, but none of those moves were as important as keeping Chancellor around past the 2013 season, which was the final year on his rookie contract.
“From the get-go, anything that happened other than being able to sign Kam was going to be a bonus for us,” Schneider said. “It was our absolute number one priority. We talked about it for a long time… We can’t stop conducting business just because we have such a fondness for Kam Chancellor and want to get something done, so we had to continue to conduct business the way that we deemed appropriate as well as being able to have that model in place where Kam was compensated the way he should be.”
This was also a significant day for the Seahawks not just because it means they will keep a Pro-Bowl caliber player from hitting free agency, but also because Chancellor is the first player drafted by the current regime to get a new deal. There are plenty of other key players who the Seahawks will try re-sign down the road—Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman are free agents after the 2014 season, Russell Okung and Russell Wilson are up after the 2015 season—but Chancellor is the first player in Seattle’s young nucleus to be rewarded with a big deal (the contract will reportedly pay $28 million with $17 million guaranteed).
“We set this program in motion a few years back with the thought that we would get to the day where it would be obvious that we would make statements about the players who have been so good to us, who we love, guys who have been in our program, and Kam is one of those guys,” Carroll said. “He’s been a tremendous factor for our football team as we’ve grown. We’re still a young team, but as we grow, he’s been a great leader for us. We have many excellent leaders, and he has been a great one for us, not just on the field but off the field in everything he does. He stands for exactly what we love to support and reward.”
Here’s what Chancellor had to say about his new deal:
“I just feel good right now. They told me at the end of last season that they were going to take care of me because they knew I was a core guy, that I work hard all the time, lead by example. I just feel blessed right now. I feel like I’m in a good situation, good spot. I’m glad I can put this behind me now and just concentrate on football and just leading this program to a championship.
“I really appreciate this moment. I think I deserve this moment, I think I worked hard for this moment. I don’t think it was given to me, I worked really hard for this moment. Being that people said I couldn’t play safety in this league, getting drafted in the fifth round, these guys giving me a chance, just being able to go out there and prove myself day in and day out, showing I can be a leader of this team and be a game changer.
“It just shows you hot much they appreciate the core guys, the guys who laid down the foundation. They promised me something and they did it. All I can do is just thank them.
“I just feel great right now. The Seahawks organization has blessed me. Man, it just feels good. I’m just a happy person right now.”