Kam Chancellor got the full treatment, from the use of the Seahawks’ giant auditorium to standing on stage flanked by his head coach and general manager holding up a jersey with his name stitched across the back.
It was meaningful because Chancellor never got that opportunity when he was drafted in the fifth round out of Virginia Tech.
”Obviously, this is a big deal and we’re trying to make a big deal out of this day for Kam,” Seattle general manager John Schneider said. ”This is Kam’s day. Kam was a fifth-round draft pick. He hasn’t been able to experience something like this and hopefully he’s here for the rest of his career.”
Chancellor became the first member of Seattle’s standout secondary to be locked up for the long term when he signed a four-year extension with the Seahawks on Monday that will keep the young safety under contract with the only organization he’s ever played for through the 2017 season.
Chancellor was Schneider’s top priority this offseason when it came to take care of players in-house. Sure the Seahawks made headlines with their trade for Percy Harvin and the signings of Cliff Avril and Antoine Winfield, but Schneider insisted none of those deals would have been consummated had they impacted Seattle’s ability to get a long-term contract done with Chancellor.
It was a promise the Seahawks made to Chancellor at the end of last season and followed through on. He is also the first player drafted with Schneider and coach Pete Carroll in command to receive an extension.
”I’ve got so many words it’s hard to throw them out there. I just feel great right now. The Seahawks organization has blessed me. It just feels good. I’m a happy person right now,” Chancellor said.
”Negations are negotiations, things are going to be up and down, be a bumpy road. At the end of the day it’s done. That’s all that matters at the end.”
Chancellor, who turned 25 earlier this month, has grown from being a fifth-round pick in 2010 into the hard-hitting anchor in Seattle’s talented secondary. In 2011, Chancellor was a Pro Bowl selection in his first season as a starter, when he had 73 tackles, four interceptions and 13 passes defensed. Last season, Chancellor was used even more in run support and recorded a career-high 92 tackles.
But it was as a rookie in 2010, when Chancellor was playing behind and learning from former All-Pro Lawyer Milloy, that Carroll saw the potential in Chancellor. Chancellor started at Virginia Tech as a quarterback before moving to cornerback and rover, and finally settling at safety. By the end of his rookie year, Chancellor was getting significant snaps on defense and was not just being used on special teams.
He took over the starting spot in 2011 when Seattle chose not to re-sign Milloy. Chancellor’s play in his first season as a starter was rewarded with a Pro Bowl trip after he was voted in as a first-alternate for the game.
”It was a great upbringing for him. Lawyer was a fantastic football player to follow and Kam did everything in that same style of play,” Carroll said. ”It started with (special) teams but he’s never taken a step back. He’s a tremendous all-around athlete … but all of that has fit together.”
A year ago, the Seahawks’ main in-house goal was getting Marshawn Lynch re-signed. This year it was Chancellor and now Schneider and his staff can turn to other players that could be due big paydays. Two other members of Seattle’s secondary – All-Pros Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman – have deals that expire after the 2014 season and could be looking at big-money extensions when the time comes.
Thomas could re-negotiate his deal now, but Sherman isn’t eligible for one more season under rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
”This whole offseason has been about Kam and we wouldn’t have gotten into any other deals if we felt it was going to put his situation in jeopardy,” Schneider said.