The writing wasn’t on the wall. It was on the Internet.
Or at least it was written on a picture that Kam Chancellor posted to the Internet last week.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
He posted it to his Instagram account with the caption, “Seattle is my Second home. I don’t plan on going anywhere unless some higher power places me elsewhere.”
Not much interpretation required there. No parsing necessary, either, and yet not everyone took that message at face value. At least I didn’t. I thought this was Chancellor jockeying for position in a match of contractual jiu-jitsu against his employer.
I don’t think that anymore.
I think that Chancellor’s statement may turn out to be a landmark in his relationship with the team. The moment when he showed the tension over his contract – which I assumed would only increase this offseason – has actually relaxed. ESPN’s John Clayton first mentioned this possibility last Friday on 710 ESPN Seattle, and I think he’s onto something.
It’s dangerous to read too much into athlete statements on social media. In fact, I usually think it’s dangerous to read anything into athlete statements on social media. But in six years, Chancellor has never been any less straightforward in cyberspace than he is as a strong safety. The man had more blocks than Dikembe Mutombo when dealing with criticism on Twitter during his holdout.
So I’m going to take Chancellor at his word with regard to his future, and stop assuming that he may wind up being traded at some point this offseason.
That was my assumption only because I couldn’t see a way out for either side. I didn’t think Chancellor would be any more inclined to accept his contract as is for 2016, and I didn’t expect the franchise would be any more inclined to make the contractual adjustments Chancellor wanted.
In fact, I thought the two sides would only be more entrenched. That’s how it usually works in professional sports. In fact, in 15 years of covering local pro teams in two different leagues, that’s how it always works. Contract beefs tend to age like certain wines. Specifically, the wines that become vinegar.
Think back to Gary Payton. He was seeking a contract extension in the summer of 2002. He didn’t get it, and then wound up traded at the deadline. Before that it was Shawn Kemp, and if you’re looking for a more football-oriented example there’s Darrell Jackson in 2007.
These things don’t usually get better.
That’s what makes Chancellor’s statement last week so significant. There’s only one reason Seattle would trade Chancellor, and that would be if Chancellor’s desire for a new contract was so strong that he was willing to go to another team to get it.
So if he says he’s not going anywhere, well, he’s the one who would be in a position to know that.