There is one player on the Seattle Seahawks that truly projects what the team wants to be like, look like, and feel like. This man sets the tone for the entire team and leads with compassion like no other. His name is Kam Chancellor. Kam is strong, physical, and aggressive, exactly what the Seahawks’ playing style has been for over half a decade. He is tall, lengthy, and plays with a dark visor that engulfs fear into any opponent going his direction on the field. And, he hits players incredibly hard and very often, so much that literally every YouTube football best-hit montage is filled with plays throughout Kam’s career. I could go on and on all day raving about the physicality and immense physical stature that Kam Chancellor brings to the table on a week to week basis for the Seattle Seahawks, but why bring this up now? I mean, everyone knows that Kam is one of the top strong safeties in the league, and he never disappoints on the playing field. The reason why we should remember what Kam Chancellor brings to the table is to recognize that he means a lot more to the Seahawks than we may realize. In this piece, I hope to persuade any fans out there that may be ready to move on from the big guy this offseason.
Last August, Kam received a three-year deal that included a total of $36 million, with $13 million of it fully guaranteed via contract. This was a deal that most Seattle fans were hoping for, as Kam had been pleading for a new deal for a great amount of time before the pen was struck to the paper. The thing Seattle fans and the Seahawks’ front office were not aware of is that Kam was going to get a neck injury in the heart of the 2017 season. This injury kept Kam on the sideline for the rest of the year and resulted in Bradley McDougald stepping up and filling in his spot. This was a devastating injury, one of many that Seattle had to deal with this past season. It was part of a large injury problem that inevitably led to Seattle missing the playoffs for the first time in Russell Wilson’s career. The Seahawks, especially General Manager John Schneider, need to not forget the attributes and pure physicality that Kam brings to the table as all of this unfolds. There have been some recent reports that Kam would be 100% down to continue playing, as long as he is medically cleared. We can only hope and pray for what the team doctors will decide.
Let’s just say Kam Chancellor gets medically cleared this offseason to continue playing the game off football. With a ton of money left on his contract, the Seahawks may end up wanting to deal him to another team, to avoid any future risk. Earl Thomas is also looking for a new deal this offseason, so that may play a role in how Kam’s situation ends up playing out. But first, let’s think about Kam and what it would mean if the Seahawks lost him for good. I believe there are three major keys that would be lost if Kam was no longer a Seahawk. 1. Kam Chancellor IS the LOB. When the Legion of Boom first began its domination in Seattle, it began with Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner delivering hits on a week to week basis unlike the NFL had seen in a long time. Richard Sherman was (and still is) the blanket cornerback that literally shut down half the field for the opponent’s passing game. And Earl Thomas was the speedster that continues to clean up broken plays all over the field. But the BOOM was mostly Kam. Let’s admit it. No one on the LOB hits as hard as Kam, and there are very few players in the entire league that delivers like he does, let alone at his own position. Remember back in the 2013 Super Bowl when Kam was all over the field and repeatedly demolished Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker? One hit on Thomas literally sent the top Broncos’ wide receiver 5 yards back. How about the hit back in 2012 on Vernon Davis against the 49ers? The legal hit was so punishing that it resulted in a penalty that should not have been given. If you do not know about these hits or if you just do not remember, just give them a quick google. Trust me, they are all over YouTube (I may or may not watch Kam highlights all the time). My point is, Kam Chancellor brings a whole different level of intensity to the Seahawks that has left an impact on the game of football forever.
The second key that would be lost with the departure of Kam Chancellor in Seattle is his leadership. Kam has been a team captain for Seattle in 2014, 2016, and 2017. He would have been team captain in 2015 if he was not holding out over a contract dispute. This proves that Kam has been looked up to as a leader in that Seattle locker room for quite some time now. Losing a veteran like that can shake up a locker room vibe and can lead to a change of tone for the team altogether. And, the last thing us Seahawks fans want is for the Seahawks to lose its tough, ferocious tone that Seattle has been accustomed to the past six or so years. Kam’s leadership was also presented this past year after he went down with a neck injury on November 9th against the Arizona Cardinals. After the injury, Bradley McDougald was the next man up for the strong safety position. He filled in very well for someone that had to fill in some pretty big shoes. Back in December, McDougald said this regarding Kam: “He is the type of player that can explain the game as a coach. It’s different for somebody that has actually been in the position and actually been in the shoes. A lot of players can’t really coach the next player behind them at their position because they just go out there and do it. It’s instinct. But Kam knows the game. He is really a student and he does a great job of breaking it down and telling me where my eyes need to be and just helping me play faster.” This excellent quote from Bradley McDougald explains the significant role that Kam plays among the Seahawks, even as he was stuck on the sideline. One simply cannot teach another this type of leadership, and it would be a dire mistake for the Seahawks to simply give up on a man with such an inconceivable characteristic.
The final key that would be lost by losing Kam forever up in Seattle would quite simply be his experience. Kam Chancellor has been to two Super Bowls, one of which he played through with a torn MCL. He has been in the league for eight long seasons, seven of which he was the starter (he did not start is rookie season in 2010). If you leave out his rookie year, Kam has played in 74 of his possible 93 games in the regular season. Yes, he has missed 19 games over the course of seven seasons, but what can you expect? He is among the most physical players in the entire NFL, so an injury here and there is inevitable. To further note, 7 of those games came this past season with the neck injury; only this past year did Kam have a truly significant injury that ended up resulting in Kam being place on Injured Reserved. Like presented above with the Bradley McDougald quote, Kam also brings a level of experience at the table that benefits and enhances the players around him. He knows where every player should be, and he knows where players’ eyes should be adjusted to on the field. If you go back and watch some film on Kam during pre-snaps on the field, you will notice that Kam is directing his defense to shift and move all over the field to adjust to what the offense is showing. He does this before ever single play. Losing someone with the amount of knowledge and awareness Kam has can be a massive loss to a team that certainly needs to maintain these two facets among its defense. The chemistry of the ‘Hawks defensive unit has always been stellar, and many other teams would go beyond means to have their defenses obtain the same chemistry Seattle has had over the years.
Most of the time, I prefer to use objective facts and numbers to prove someone wrong in a debate when it comes to sports or really any other topic because it allows me to explain perceptions in the most logical way. But, in this instance, I am acting as a the true die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan that has seen Kam Chancellor evolve over the years into a brilliant, compassionate player that leads the Seattle defense to dominance year after year. I am not simply arguing for the Seahawks to keep Kam for the longer term due to sentimental reasons, I just truly see the magnitude of power and charisma that Kam puts forth at the strong safety position for Seattle. Kam’s physicality, leadership, and experience overwhelm any negative effects that come with keeping Kam on the roster in my eyes. It will be very interesting to see what Seattle’s team doctors end up deciding when it comes to his career fate. Either way, I hope the decision is for the better. He deserves it.