RENTON, Wash. — Kam Chancellor wore a wry grin, knowing that a day earlier when he was peppered about his contract status and future with the Seattle Seahawks that all those questions were about to be answered.
“I didn’t want to tell you all,” Chancellor said with a chuckle. “But I had an idea it was pretty close. Both sides were positive and it turned around great.”
The Seahawks’ starting strong safety signed a three-year extension Tuesday that will keep him with the only club he’s ever played for through the 2020 season and creates the possibility that Chancellor will retire having played only in Seattle.
Chancellor’s new deal is worth up to $36 million with $25 million guaranteed, a hefty payday for a 29-year-old whose physical style of play has led to big hits but also a variety of injuries during his career.
Tuesday’s announcement was a stark change from two years ago when Chancellor was a training camp holdout because he was unhappy with his contract.
“I don’t think the relationship ever fell off. I think it was just a process. The past was the past and I put that behind me two years ago and it worked,” Chancellor said. “We’re here today back to where we started, both sides in a great agreement. Bygones be bygones. I’m ready to play football.”
Without a new deal, Chancellor could have left Seattle in free agency after this season. Chancellor’s first contract extension, signed in 2013, is set to expire after the 2017 season.
“I think it’s another illustration of, if you have deep relationships sometimes you don’t see things eye-to-eye and sometimes you get going in a different direction and stuff doesn’t quite make sense. We got there,” coach Pete Carroll said. “But because of the depth of the relationship, because of the commitment to one another to really the individual and to us as well, we worked our way through it and it made sense. He’s been better for it. We’ve been better for it even though it was as really hard thing.”
Chancellor has been Seattle’s starting strong safety since 2011. He is a two-time second-team All-Pro selection and a four-time Pro Bowler.
Known as one of the biggest hitters in the defensive backfield, Chancellor is also a highly respected voice in Seattle’s locker room, even after his holdout two years ago where he missed the first two games of the regular season. Any wounds from that decision were healed when Chancellor was voted a team captain last season.
“He came back like we didn’t miss a beat. ... He came back like he never left. We accepted that,” teammate Earl Thomas said. “He’s a leader, we listen to him and he’s very valuable to this defense.”
The contract extension was also taken as a signal to some of Seattle’s other veterans who could be in the same position a year from now. Thomas, for example, has two years remaining on his current contract. The same goes for Richard Sherman.
Seattle also spent four draft picks this past spring on defensive backs.
“I was watching very closely,” Thomas said. “You want to see because we’re all right around the same age. They’re bringing a lot of new guys in. If the writing is on the wall I want to be able to see it because I know I’ll be next.”