The Seattle Seahawks began to witness the pitfalls of success this past offseason when strong safety Kam Chancellor told the team that he was going to hold out for a new contract, even though he has a few years left on the current deal. Wednesday morning, however, the strong safety decided to end his holdout and return to the team.

His return couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Seahawks have started 0-2 and haven’t looked all that impressive. The team’s offense has really struggled, but much of the blame can be placed on the defense as well. The team gave up at least 30 points in each of their two losses, so how much does having Chancellor back mean to them?

Chancellor is one of the most physically gifted athletes that the league has ever seen. He is literally a beast at 6’3″ 235 pounds, and he plays with such physicality and violence it’s like having a linebacker at the safety position. He puts the fear of God in the hearts of receivers and tight ends as well with his vicious hits, and he is outstanding at playing the run; he’s not afraid to come up and smash a tailback in the backfield, which probably isn’t the case with most safeties around the league (regardless of what they might say).

With that being said, Kam is more than just a big tough guy. He is just as intelligent as he is athletic. He’s almost always around the ball, and has a knack for making big plays, such as his pick six in last season’s NFC Title Game against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

It’s very rare to see teams make big plays in the passing game while Kam is roaming in the backfield; his very presence makes the defense better, and even the team as a whole seems to elevate their play with Kam there. For example, in 2014 Kam missed some time with injury, and while he was gone, the team slipped to a 3-3 record. Then, when he returned the team went on a tear and won their final 10 games and the division, and rode that momentum all the way to the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl. Chancellor certainly wasn’t the single reason for the turnaround but he was a huge part of it. The Seahawks’ D is the heart and soul of that team; they play well, the whole team raises their level of play.

This season could easily turn out the same. It’s not likely the team necessarily wins their final 14 games, because their schedule is too difficult for that to happen, but things will certainly be different, and the defense will certainly be better. Kam has unbelievable athletic gifts, he is a great leader on the field, and with all due respect to his teammate and fellow safety Earl Thomas, who’s a special talent as well, Kam Chancellor is the best safety, free or strong, in the National Football League.

Devon Ashby

Spark Sports NFL Analyst