May 26, 2015; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) warms up before an OTA practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Kam Chancellor signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He needs to honor that deal. End of story.
Let’s start with the obvious. Chancellor is an amazing athlete and a key member of this team. His presence will be undeniably important if the Seahawks are going to make a serious run at another Super Bowl.
In addition, that whole jump over the defensive line that he did last year (twice)…epic. One of the all-time amazing Seahawks highlights in terms of raw physical talent.
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Is Chancellor worth more than he is getting paid? Worth is kind of a funny word. From an economic standpoint, he is not getting bad money by NFL standards. He and Earl Thomas are both making good salaries when compared to other safeties.
Whenever there is a player holdout we usually hear from the teammates, and oftentimes we hear words of support. This is obviously expected, as those players hope to get similar support if they decide to hold out.
These players will talk about how hard the player works, and how this is a “business” thing. Uh-huh. Let’s address those two points.
Do professional football players work hard? Undoubtedly. Do they have dangerous and physically taxing jobs? For sure. That isn’t the issue.
The issue is how professional athletes approach signed contracts. In essence, they are always negotiable. Obviously we can point a lot of fingers and lament economics and plight of various groups in society. Let’s stay focused here.
Work ethic is irrelevant in this situation.
Professional athletes obviously want the best of all worlds. They want to be paid the market rate, but they also want long-term security. The problem is that it is difficult to have both.
You can sign a long-term deal and enjoy some peace of mind. Or, you live dangerously and sign a long series of one-year contracts. Granted, certain players try to get back aspects anyway by utilizing the reality that they have a specific skill set that is not easily replicated. The demand is high, but the supply is very low. Simple economics.
As for the idea that this is “business,” I would like to respectfully suggest that this has nothing to do with management theory or advanced organizational psychology. Football players do not have access to an advanced form of commerce or economics. This is about jealously or the elusive idea of “respect” that athletes often talk about in these situations.
Forgive me if I have a lack of sympathy for the compensation of professional athletes. Again, we must return to the idea of tough work. Professional football is admittedly dangerous. So are a lot of jobs that get paid a lot less.
Let’s think about the kids, shall we? What is the message that they should be learning here? Lest we forget, Chancellor was pretty happy when he signed his contract. Just about every athlete that signs a lucrative long-term deal has high praise for the organization and gratitude for the opportunity to make so much money.
The Seahawks obviously have to be careful in this situation. If they give Chancellor more money, they will set a very bad precedent for future contracts. They would, in essence, be telling their players that any long-term contract is negotiable at any time. Isn’t there a kids book about that? Something about a mouse wanting a cookie…or was it a moose that wants a muffin?
But, I digress.
Now, are NFL contracts “fair” compared to, say, MLB contracts? Obviously not. When Chancellor signed his four-year, $28 million contract, a total of $17 million was guaranteed. Across the street, Robinson Cano will get all $240 million of his deal. Not exactly equitable.
Let’s close with this inescapable idea. Just like the rest of the world, there will always be people who make more money than you. Some of those people will be decidedly undeserving. In terms of profession sports, there is a similar idea. Every time an athlete signs a contract, they have to know that the next guy could make more. In some cases, much more.
I know Chancellor would like to make more money. So would a lot of people in this world.