It’s rare that elite players become available for an NFL trade in their primes. However, this year is proving to be different. That was proven when the Seattle Seahawks exchanged Pro Bowl center Max Unger (29) for Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham (28) as well as draft picks. It was the blockbuster of the decade so far. Yet incredibly it looks like it may have just been an opening act.
Suddenly the Seahawks are being put in a very serious bind. Their star safety Kam Chancellor has made it clear that he intends to hold out for as long as it takes until he gets a new contract he feels reflects his contributions to their defense. After granting lucrative extension to Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner this off-season, it’s a move Seattle is hard-pressed to make, especially since they already gave Chancellor a four-year extension in 2013. He currently ranks as the eighth highest paid safety in football.
His problem may be that teammate, Earl Thomas, is making $3 million more per year. Seattle doesn’t have the cap space to handle such a raise. Hence the ever increasing buzz of trade talks.
The question becomes which teams are prime locations for the 27-year old to land? It would have to be a team that can either willingly part with a 1st round draft pick (or more) or perhaps has another player of similar value they’d be willing to exchange. The Giants may have been an interested part given their woeful safety problems but it’s hard to see them spending the money or giving up the pick(s).
The Baltimore Ravens are certainly a team to watch here. Ozzie Newsome is a savvy veteran GM who knows the value of the bold move. Plus his defense is really hurting at safety after the busting of former 1st round pick Matt Elam. While a 1st round pick isn’t out of the question, the Ravens could offer a huge help to the Seahawks in the form of offensive linemen. Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele were two of the best guards in football last season and could help what has been a porous Seattle front improve.
Then there is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ever since the decline and departure of Troy Polamalu, the back end of their defense has looked very vulnerable. Despite their efforts the team hasn’t been able to find a suitable stand-in for the retired star. Chancellor is the kind of tough enforcer they’ve lacked. Given the age of Ben Roethlisberger, their window of opportunity to reach the Super Bowl is closing. So they would be a team that might part with that 1st rounder.
Suffice to say there are a number of teams out there that would love a star safety. What it comes down to is money, trade cost and whether the Seahawks are ready to pull the trigger.