As cap grows, NFL teams fear more Kam Chancellor holdouts

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On Sunday, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor became the first player to skip a regular-season game over a contract dispute since the 2011 labor deal was signed. He likely won’t be the last.

The real question could be this: How many more will there be?

Per a league source, multiple teams fear that more players will take a stand, with the argument they deserve a raise bolstered by the sudden annual spike in the salary cap. After slow growth from 2011 through 2013 (with a little hocus-pocus — and cap penalties imposed on Dallas and Washington — keeping the cap from shrinking in 2012), the spending limit has gone up by $10 million per team in each of the last two years. So guys who signed contracts at a time when the cap was creeping may now want some sort of an adjustment to account for the fact that, in comparison, it’s skyrocketing.

That raises the stakes for Seattle and Chancellor, with the NFL Management Council possibly urging the team not to give in, and ultimately not to waive fines or bonus forfeitures if/when Chancellor decides to stop the $267,000-per-week bleeding.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of players seeing the relative value of their contracts shrinking as the salary cap expands. On one hand, it’s on the NFLPA and the agents to plan for that growth. On the other hand, that growth could best be planned for by building a term into the contract that ensures the player will receive as his total compensation a predetermined percentage of the salary cap.

That could be the next trend in contract negotiations. Instead of selecting fixed amounts for player pay, the player would have a set “paragraph 5” base salary along with a bonus aimed at getting his total pay to a set percentage of a given year’s salary cap.

If nothing else, that approach would give players the ultimate protection against unexpected spikes in the cap. Of course, it also would expose them to the possibility of getting less money, in the event the cap drops. But with the cap going up by eight figures per year over the last two years, that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

54 responses to “As cap grows, NFL teams fear more Kam Chancellor holdouts

  1. Mara cited the fact that the Giants compete with the Patriots on the playing field for a reason not to get involved in the Brady mess. But telling the Seahawks to keep an All Pro off the field to promote management interest is fine.

    Who are they kidding?

  2. If the ‘Hawks cave to Chancellor, that team can expect a lot more holdouts on players with multiple years on their contracts.

    If the ‘Hawks hold the line, the damage to the ‘Hawks will be localized and limited. If not, they will obtain short term relief at the cost of long term consequences.

  3. I’m not one to call players greedy for getting what they can while they can and I admire that Kam is willing to roll the dice on these fines in an attempt to get more, but this whole idea of ensuring players get a set percentage of the salary cap year after year is absurd and as greedy as it gets in my opinion.

  4. We won’t bother with the hypothetical of the Salary Cap going down (how would the player like it if his wages are garnished for that?) because it’s not likely; but what happens when Player-A at Position-1 decides that his job is more deserving of a larger slice of the pie than Player-B at Position-2?

    You’ve just traded problems.

  5. If players want to be able to negotiate every year or two, then sign 1-2 year contracts. If you want long term contracts that bring with them large guaranteed money and security, well that’s your choice.

    You don’t get to have it both ways.

  6. im sorry but there is zero excuse to keep a hall-of-fame caliber player off the field for a million dollars.

  7. Will Kam’s agent – or any future holdout’s agent – return a percentage of their commission fee for bad advice? This issue is systemic; obviously bigger than Kam.

    The player and the team get hurt,; the middle men do fine

  8. It’s just a matter of time before there is another league wide players strike.

    The owners are making too much cash and too many mid level players feel short changed.

  9. Makes sense. Teams are going to be reluctant.

    In my opinion, this is on the players to demand shorter contracts with more guarantees. The risk has to reside somewhere. Players like the risk to reside with the owners and the reward to reside with the players…. Cannot have your cake and eat it too…

  10. And so what if it does happen more often? Like it or not teams must manage their players. It’s as if this is a job or something.

  11. NFL is dirty, I don’t blame any player trying to maximize their value . I’m a Hawks fan, I totally get what Kam is doing. Just because his contract says he has 3 years left. In all actuality it’s just a one year contract. Because the last 2 years are not guaranteed. He’s basically playing year-by-year.

  12. How is the NFL held accountable as a single business, but setting employees’ wages across the board is collusion?

  13. If they actually received the contract amount, I would say to stick to it. Since these “contracts” are pretty heavily favored to the owners, I have no sympathy for these poor cash-strapped billionaires.

    Let us not forget, Kam isn’t asking for more money. He just wants future compensation shifted to an earlier date.

  14. Why is this even an issue with a guy under contract?

    Cam signed a contract for a specific length of time to train and play professional football in the NFL for the Seahawks. If he did not like the contract he should have had his agent or other representatives change it so it was more to his liking prior to signing it.

    Football players in the NFL have a very short shelf life. Everyday he sits out complaining about money he isn’t earning any from the Seahawks. But his time as a football player in the NFL continues to roll forward as he ages. The NFL teams have been around for decades and will be here for decades more. The football teams and the NFL in general are money makers. The players are the entertainers who get buts in the seats and sell merchandise. If the holdout players aren’t playing someone else will. Remember the strike where replacement players were brought in? It can and will happen again.

    Cam has not trained or shown up to play according to the terms of his contract. Cam has let down his team and fellow players not to mention the fans who pay his salary. Don’t pay Cam a penny until he returns to honor his contract and definitely don’t give back any money HE HASN’T EARNED while not honoring his contract.

    Problem solved.

  15. Stiller43 says:
    Sep 16, 2015 9:58 AM
    If players want to be able to negotiate every year or two, then sign 1-2 year contracts. If you want long term contracts that bring with them large guaranteed money and security, well that’s your choice.
    __________________________________________
    Except that in the NFL, long-term contracts do not provide guaranteed money and security. That’s at the heart of the problem. The contracts that the players sign essentially say that they can be cut at anytime without any repercussions for the team. Now while that is the contract the players sign, it is a contract process heavily tilted toward the team not the player. But yes, it is the player signing it.

  16. jackofnotrades says:
    Sep 16, 2015 9:59 AM

    im sorry but there is zero excuse to keep a hall-of-fame caliber player off the field for a million dollars.
    ___________________________

    Yes there is it is called a CONTRACT. Next time you buy a new car or a home just stop paying for it because the interest rates have dropped and see what happens. They will repossess the car or kick you out of the home.

    Now as an adult you can refinance these items at a lower interest rate if your credit is good but your original contract is in effect until you do……

  17. All NFL contracts are year-to-year. The owners cancel contracts anytime they like, so I see no problem with players asking for more money if they outplay their contract.

  18. I’m all for the players getting as much money as they can in the limited amount of years they have in the league, but I have a major problem with players signing contracts in which they get all the guaranteed money up front and then demand a new contract once all the guaranteed money has been paid. You signed the contract and you should honor it for the full term. If you don’t want to do that then don’t sign a five-year deal. Sign for one or two years and then you can renegotiate at the end of it, but they don’t sign for the short term because of the injury risk. The players can’t have it both ways. Sign short-term and renegotiate as you go or sign long-term, take the relative security and honor the contract

  19. Of course, if the CAP drops, a percentage system would have the players holding out saying “you can’t cut my salary”, even though the collective bargaining agreement would allow that under a percentage system.

    Bottom line is players will continue to wreck the NFL. Being a gazillionaire isn’t good enough for them.

  20. I support the Seahawks on this one. I think it was important for teams to collude and take a stand against the players. They are replaceable, whether they want to believe it or not.

    I encourage everyone to go tell their boss today that they won’t be coming in and working until their salary demands are met. Watch how quickly and easily you get replaced. Kam Chancellor is absolutely no different.

    Frankly, I think he knows that defense will be taking a nosedive now that their coordinator is gone, so he’s just trying to get his cash now. Matter of time until he’s replaced by another guy who can run, jump and understand a playbook.

  21. The best way to solve this is players should put a clause in their contract that after a couple years allows them to opt out for example if Eric waddle signs a 4 year deal so he gets his guaranteed long term protection but feels he may play good the first two years which warrants more money out an opt out after the second year teams could do this to for protection with possible regression sure money would need to be altered but that would easily solve these if jam had an opt out after this year he could play likes it’s a contract year which benefits Seattle as they get a better version of him but jam could then opt out and get his pay Seattle could also put this in a free agent signing who is old but decent so if he doesn’t live up to his deal they could cut him

  22. “I love this team and will stand up to anybody who tries to destroy it boom!!!!””

    Delisa Lynch.

    Some “Smart Azz” about to go “boom!!!” any time now.

  23. If an NFL team doesn’t want to worry, then hire the GM that can say we have no reason to ever be afraid of this issue and here is the plan that addresses the concern and removes it with certainty.

  24. It’s time for 3 year Max contracts. No signing bonus all years fully guaranteed by both sides. If you cut them you pay them. If the player doesn’t show up he doesn’t get paid. The ridiculous numbers will go away and nobody can feel they are being taken advantage of.

  25. @theashleyguy: guaranteed money means GUARANTEED MONEY. If they get cut before their contract expires, any guaranteed money is owed to that player. Long-term contracts are a bigger risk to the team than the player.

    Stiller43 couldn’t have said it any better. Kam needs to play now to make sure he will get another contract after his current one is up…in two more years.

  26. Let us not forget, Kam isn’t asking for more money. He just wants future compensation shifted to an earlier date.

    Really? So what happens when that money that has rolled into an earlier date isn’t paid to him. He’ll complain because he isn’t making any money this year even though he already had it rolled into the previous year. Then he’ll holdout again because he’s not making as much money as the highest paid player at his position is, even though he’s already received a truckload of money up front. To take your statement at face value is rational but takes no account into what happens next year and the year after.

  27. I say pay them all more. As fans we never complain about paying more for tickets, beer, and parking for NFL games.

  28. Has any one player ever had to pay the “fines” after holding out and getting a new contract? Anybody got any stats on that? My guess would be zero.

  29. Let him own his contract.

    Play or sit.

    I will be forever mad at Sea if they forgive his fines or pay him for the time he sat.
    I think they should fine him at least 2 additional game checks when he does show.

  30. So many people here missing the point.

    The article isn’t about honoring contracts. Yes yes, we all know they should do that. But that ship has sailed. Players are blind to honor if they see other players (and owners) getting more and more.

    And if caps are increased, they feel it should go to them.

    Inflation in the NFL is rampant – from salaries, advertising revenue to costs to fans.

    If you think any part of the ever increasing pie is not going to be fought over by players, including hold outs and a potential players strike, you are naive.

  31. leftlaneisforpassingonly says:
    Sep 16, 2015 11:03 AM

    I say pay them all more. As fans we never complain about paying more for tickets, beer, and parking for NFL games.
    —————————————————-

    I agree 100%…

    The NFL priced me out of actually attending games long ago and with the recent price increase, they have now priced me out the NFL Sunday Ticket too.

    These days I just watch whatever crappy game is televised locally anf have found that I really don’t miss it all that much.

  32. That why the Seahawks have to punish Kam as much as possible. Fines Stay, No Giving In, and possible trading him, leaving him inactive on gamedays? When he reports could they suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team for they way he let this play out. A contact is a contract and he signed it.

  33. fwanky509 says:
    Sep 16, 2015 10:02 AM

    NFL is dirty, I don’t blame any player trying to maximize their value . I’m a Hawks fan, I totally get what Kam is doing. Just because his contract says he has 3 years left. In all actuality it’s just a one year contract. Because the last 2 years are not guaranteed. He’s basically playing year-by-year.
    ==============

    Uhh no.

    If I hire you to build a deck and give you half the money up front, it shouldn’t entitle you to come back and tell me you’re underpaid by half because ignoring the half up front, you’re only paid half your rate.

  34. NFL teams need to all band together and blackball any player who holds out in a situation like this. Kam refusing to play until he gets more money is hurting the Seahawks. But if the Seahawks give in, it’ll hurt every team in the league because other players are definitely paying attention and will follow suit. It’s one thing if a player is dramatically outplaying his rookie contract. It’s another when a player has 3 years remaining on a 4 year extension that already pays him as the highest paid player in his position in the league. The Seahawks should not give in and if they do, they’ll have 31 teams pretty upset with them for doing so. Also, the second they renegotiate with Chancellor, Michael Bennett will walk out the door. And at this point, Bennett is more important to that defense than Kam is.

  35. I see a lot of people saying that people in non-sports jobs “honor their contracts,” so players should too. That is both not true and not a good comparison. In demand workers very frequently void contracts to take higher paying jobs – they may have to pay a salary penalty to do so, but if they’re truly in demand (a highly valued software developer, a successful CEO, etc.), it’s not uncommon for the company headhunting them to pick that up too. If a worker’s contract greatly underpays him or her, there will be a way out of it. Yes, non-compete clauses can be added to contracts, but the courts have held that they are subject to limitations and cannot be overly broad – they’re certainly nowhere near as restrictive as NFL free agency rules, where the teams all collude to make sure that the bulk of the players never actually hit the “open market.”

  36. The first time a player offers to return some of his money when he’s underperforming his contract, maybe I’ll have some sympathy for guys like Kam. But will we ever see that happen? As the late Gorilla Monsoon would say, “Highly unlikely, Brain”.

  37. If players don’t want to honor the contract THEY signed, then let them sit at home. The game will move on without them. I’m sure once they start not receiving those checks, the majority will be back with their team.

  38. The first time a player offers to return some of his money when he’s underperforming his contract, maybe I’ll have some sympathy for guys like Kam.

    ========================================

    When a player underperforms his contract, he gets cut (except for the rare player that manages to get a huge amount up front in the form of signing bonuses, but that’s relatively uncommon).

  39. The way I see it, FINANCIALLY (not on the field) the Seahawks have all of the leverage here.

    Kam is cutting off his nose to spite his face.

    In my opinion, Kam should have waited until this offseason to try and renegotiate his deal, ala-Lynch in previous years. Then the new cap structure would apply.

    Really, what good would it do to cave now? As Hawk fans, do we really believe he’s in game-shape now? He’s what, 8-10 weeks behind the 8-ball? Is he gonna come back week three as the Messiah?

    Stand firm or the Hawks will open Pandora’s box for themselves and the entire league.

    Go Hawks!

  40. Teams cut players with money remaining on the contract, when they are hurt or not performing. How is it any different when a player holds out for more money? Get your money Kam!

  41. Cheese and rice people, do you not understand what a signing bonus is???? That cash up front for him to keep(unless he goes to prison). NBA, MLB have guaranteed contract, but do not receive up front monies…

  42. Kam can forget the Seahawks giving in on this contract dispute, as it would throw the whole league into disarray, and that ain’t going to happen. He should try to save face the best he can and ask for the fines to be dropped and put this episode behind him.

  43. This guy was a 5th round pick who was fortunate to come to a team with top secondary coaching , multiple all pro defensive backs and a scheme that let him play to his strengths. The Seahawks made him who he is today. They rewarded him by making him the highest paid SS in football two years ago. He pays them back with extortion for even more money and calling them “petty”when they didn’t just jump at his demands. Get him off the team and down the road ASAP.

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