First off, Doug Baldwin is fine. He’s not going anywhere and he seems to be as healthy as any NFL player can be. Please don’t take the headline as a sign that Baldwin is going anywhere; this week’s theme post, as SB Nation has been doing with all the NFL blogs this season, is “What player can your team not afford to lose?” The reasons I’m highlighting Baldwin today are this:
Russell Wilson is the only answer that is acceptable. He’s the MVP of this league (maybe) and certainly the most valuable player on the team by 500 miles, as The Proclaimers would proclaim. So him as an answer is just a little predictable and boring.
Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman could all be in a tie for the second-most valuable player on the team. Unfortunately, Sherman is already lost for the season and Wagner is in danger of missing his first start of the season this week because of injury. We’ve seen the Seahawks struggle every time Wagner is not on the field. It could be difficult to watch Seattle face the Rams without him, if they must.
Thomas, like Wilson, is also just such an obvious answer. So the team at Field Gulls brainstormed and Mookie Alexander suggested Baldwin. Since he couldn’t write it, I’m putting Baldwin’s name in the hat for him.
Baldwin’s been with the team since 2011, making him one of the most experienced Pete Carroll students in the system. He’s a veteran leader in the locker room, on the field, and when standing in the vicinity of a microphone. He’s also just an exceptional football player, perhaps the best slot receiver in the NFL and easily the best receiver on the Seahawks.
Baldwin leads the team with 38 first down catches, t18th most in the league, more than guys like Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks, and former teammate Golden Tate. Since the start of 2015, Baldwin has 238 catches for 3,057 yards and 26 touchdowns. His catch rate has dropped 10 percentage points this season compared to the previous two (75% to 65%) but the offense has also dramatically changed around him in that time as Seattle transitions from a running team to Russell Wilson nearly leading the NFL in pass attempts. Baldwin must also then adapt and as he does, could become one of the most productive over-30 receivers in league history.
Baldwin is 29 right now.
Without Baldwin, Wilson and the offense would have to lean heavier on Jimmy Graham, who is averaging less than 10 yards per catch this season, Paul Richardson, whose advanced his game this year but is untested as a number one target, and Tyler Lockett, one of the most inconsistent players I can think of. The offense has moved into being a pass-first unit, so I can’t imagine what they’d do next week if they didn’t have their most reliable, trusted, and talented receiver on the field. As well as their de facto non-Wilson leader.
Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
Which of these players can Seahawks most not afford to lose?
This poll is closed