The Seattle Seahawks officially said goodbye to two stalwarts of their Super Bowl XLVIII championship team on Thursday, releasing safety Kam Chancellor and wide receiver Doug Baldwin with failed physicals.
It had been clear for some time that Chancellor's career was over after sustaining a neck injury in November 2017. He did not play at all during the 2018 season while he remained on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Due to the contract he signed prior to the 2017 season, Chancellor was kept on the roster due to guarantees owed to him in 2018.
Baldwin's tenure with the Seahawks had come into seriously doubt far more recently with a report coming out during the NFL Draft that Baldwin was contemplating retirement.
"We know Doug is going to have a hard time," general manager John Schneider said on April 26. "There's a process that we need to go through with Doug.
"Just trust us, there's a process. We're trying to respect Doug as much as we can. ... He's at a point in his career where he's considering a lot of things. Once you get there, there's a lot of different ways. There's stuff with the league office, with the union that we need to work through with him."
If Baldwin had retired, the Seahawks would have been entitled to seek repayment of a prorated portion of his signing bonus from his extension signed in June 2016. By releasing him, it allows Baldwin to retain the money he's already been paid and walk away from the game of his own volition. Baldwin would be entitled to $1.2 million in injury protection money but Seattle would get out of the remaining $6.89 million due to him in salary this season.
“The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate/failed physical Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor,” Schneider said in a statement released along with the announcement of the moves on Thursday. “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community. These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”
Chancellor and Baldwin spent their entire careers with the Seahawks, Chancellor was a fifth-round pick in the 2010 Draft while Baldwin signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
Chancellor was named to the Pro Bowl four times and was twice named a second-team All-Pro during his eight years with the Seahawks. He appeared in 109 games and started all 93 games following his rookie year when he was a backup to Lawyer Milloy. Chancellor had 606 tackles, 12 interceptions, nine forced fumbles and two sacks during his eight-year run with the Seahawks. But beyond the stats, Chancellor's imposing nature added an edge of physicality to Seattle's defense. Monster hits on Vernon Davis, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Winston, Jason Witten, Montario Hardesty and others helped put the Boom in Seattle's Legion of Boom defense.
Baldwin bucked his undrafted status to become the second most productive wide receiver in franchise history. He appeared in 123 games for Seattle over his eight years with the team. Baldwin was twice named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017, becoming the first Seattle receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 to make the Pro Bowl. He finishes his tenure with the Seahawks - and potentially his career - with 493 catches for 6,563 yards and 49 touchdowns. Baldwin's 14 touchdowns in 2015 are the most by a receiver in franchise history.
Seahawks add three:
The Seahawks announced the signings of cornerback Jamar Taylor, fullback Nick Bellore and guard Marcus Martin earlier in the day on Thursday.
No corresponding moves were made at the time, but the releases of Chancellor and Baldwin freed up the necessary roster spots to hit all three players on the roster. An additional roster move will need to be made to add Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah when he signs the deal he reached with the team on Wednesday night.
Taylor was a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2013. He spent three years with the Dolphins, two with the Cleveland Browns and then split time last year with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. He's played in 78 games with 41 career starts.
Bellore becomes the only fullback on Seattle's roster. He's played in 121 career games with the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.
Martin was a third-round pick of the 49ers in 2014. He spent three years with the team before moving on to the Browns and Dallas Cowboys over the last two seasons. He's appeared in 26 games with 24 starts.
Photo Credit: WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 21: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) congratulates Seattle Seahawks players Doug Baldwin (L) and Kam Chancellor during a ceremony honoring the players, coaches and executives of the Super Bowl XLVIII champions in the East Room of the White House May 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama honored the Seahawks and their 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos last February. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)