Doug Baldwin agreed to a four-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, a deal worth $46 million in total. It's a massive payday for the former rookie free agent, and one that will tie the receiver to the Seahawks until he's 32 years old. The 2020 season, which is the final year of his contract, would be his tenth with the team; If Baldwin plays out his deak, he would become just the third wide receiver in team history to play ten or more seasons in Seattle.
Baldwin would be joining Steve Largent and Brian Blades as the longest-tenured receivers in Seahawks history.
Since being signed out of Stanford in 2011 as an undrafted free agent, Baldwin has been the steady name at the position as the names around him shifted. Mike Williams, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and more have cycled through the number-one receiver spot, while the shifty slot receiver remained the same. Just like Largent, Blades, Joey Galloway, Darrell Jackson and others before him, Baldwin feels like "the receiver" for a generation of Seattle fans. And five seasons in the numbers reflect that.
Baldwin currently sits seventh all-time in both receiving yards and catches in franchise history, with 3826 and 274 respectively, while his 29 career receiving touchdowns is good for sixth. The ever present Baldwin will continue to slowly climb up the charts in the coming seasons, passing the aforementioned receivers, as well as that great slot receiver that came before him, Bobby Engram.
While Baldwin may never again hit the career-high in touchdowns he achieved in 2015, it's fair to assume his receptions and yards are a sign of things to come: 80 catches and over 1000 yards are realistic benchmarks for Baldwin to hit in the next couple of seasons. Sure, 2015 was over-the-moon amazing, but save for a sophomore slump Baldwin's been as consistent as any receiver for the Seahawks during Pete Carroll's time in Seattle. Throwing out the down year that was 2012, Baldwin has averaged a stat line of 61 catches, 865 yards and 6.5 touchdowns between 2011 and 2013-15. Those numbers more closely reflect the "Very good, not quite great" Baldwin fans have been accustomed to. Reverting closer to those numbers during the life of his new contract could be seen as a disappointment money-wise, but five more seasons of 61/865 with 6 or 7 touchdowns will be enough for Baldwin to been seen in the same light as Seahawks legends.
Spreading those averages over the next five seasons would see him stand at 7286 yards, 519 catches and 55 touchdowns at age 32. That would make him third all-time in Seahawks history in yards and catches, second in touchdowns, and Baldwin would be standing close to atop all of the charts with Blades, though both of them are still shielding the sun from their eyes as they wave to Largent, who'd be still high above them. Of course, Baldwin is not the first young receiver in this century to be turning heads.
The Seattle player who has the most receiving yards through his first five seasons is not Largent, Blades, Galloway or Baldwin ... It's Darrell Jackson. He accumulated 5,007 yards and 34 touchdowns from 2000 to 2004 after being a second round pick and catching passes from Matt Hasselbeck. He also caught 50 more passes in his first five seasons than Largent did. But then Jackson missed 10 games in that magical 2005 season and after catching 10 touchdowns the next year, was traded to the San Francisco 49ers and retired after 2008. Jackson averaged 16 more yards per game over his first five seasons than Baldwin has, but don't let that discourage you.
Baldwin's catch rate is an incredible 67.2% (Jackson's was 54.6%) and his yards per target is 9.38 (compared to 8.04 for Jackson.)
The feisty undrafted free agent who won Seahawks fans' hearts as one of the few bright spots in 2011 has grown in front of our very eyes from his endearing rookie season, to being a controversial figure for some, to the league's leader in touchdown receptions last season. Come 2020, that same guy who has been turning heads since his first unexpected preseason breakout five years ago may skyrocket up the all-time receiving charts.
Nothing "pedestrian" about that.