Now that the Kam Chancellor holdout has ended, questions remain about how it even started.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the holdout started because the two sides couldn’t agree on an adjustment to Chancellor’s contract that would have applied in 2016.
Initially, discussions in early August between the team and Chancellor resulted in a tentative understanding as to a deal that would, as of 2016, pay Chancellor in accordance with the top safeties in the game. The Seahawks later declined to execute in 2015 a deal that would kick in for 2016, due to concerns regarding the precedent it would set for other players with multiple years remaining on their own deals.
And that’s when things turned hostile between player and team, because Chancellor believed the Seahawks had reneged on the arrangement.
Just before the third game of the preseason, the Seahawks (per the source) made a revised offer worth less money than the deal that previously had been scrapped. This actually made things worse in Chancellor’s assessment, because the Seahawks were not contradicting their prior refusal to set a bad precedent.
As a last-ditch effort before the start of the regular season, Chancellor suggested moving enough money from 2017 to 2016 to increase Chancellor’s pay for 2016 from $5.1 million to $10 million. The Seahawks offered an increase to $8 million. Chancellor would have settled for $9 million, but the Seahawks declined. (NFL Media previously pegged the gap at $900,000.)
That’s when the decision was made to miss games. Moving forward, it’s possible that the Seahawks will still reconfigure Chancellor’s pay for 2016. But Chancellor has much less leverage — especially since he now owes the team $1.6 million in fines and bonus forfeiture.
Chancellor ostensibly has returned for his teammates, but he also has stopped the financial bleeding. Moving forward, the real question is how much of that blood he’ll get back after the 2015 season.