After his second season, it would have been hard to not write off Doug Baldwin as a rookie wonder who would never improve on his unexpected production as an undrafted free agent in 2011 or that he’d develop chemistry with franchise QB Russell Wilson. Baldwin had just 366 yards and three touchdowns that year, putting in doubt his future in the offense.
Over the next two seasons, Baldwin came reliable, could make spectacular catches, but was still only filed under “pedestrian” after establishing himself as a solid 800-yard receiver in a run-first offense. Pedestrian? No. Expendable? Maybe. But not anymore.
Over the last two years, Baldwin has planted himself firmly in the top 10 at his position, accumulating 172 catches on 228 targets (75.4% catch rate), 2,197 yards, and 21 touchdowns. He’s been excellent in the postseason two, catching 11 of 12 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown in last season’s wild card win over the Detroit Lions. Baldwin has caught 55 of 77 playoff targets for 702 yards and six touchdowns, with his postseason production increasing steadily in recent years just like his regular season production.
It’s a great thing that Baldwin doesn’t plan on ever leaving the Seahawks.
"I'm going to retire as a Seattle Seahawk. That's not a question. I made sure John Schneider knew that when I signed the new deal." Baldwin— Kevin Shockey (@KevinShockey) June 15, 2017
Baldwin signed a four-year, $46 million extension last year, keeping him in Seattle through 2020, at which point he’ll be 32. That’s not very old for an established receiver, but it’s worth noting that Larry Fitzgerald is only 33 and he sometimes feels like the oldest player in the NFL despite leading the league in catches last season. Baldwin’s skillset, which relies on hands and savvy over speed, should keep him as a viable threat beyond 2020 barring injury. A potential comp - that Baldwin may not like because he’s the one who called him pedestrian to begin with - is former Vikings receiver Cris Carter.
Carter remained effective until 36, retiring at age 37. So Baldwin could potentially stay in the NFL in 2024, at which point we have no idea who the head coach or GM will be for the Seahawks. It’s great that Baldwin wants to stick around for a long time though, because it seems like he’s going to continue to be reliable and productive for a long time, especially as he continues to get more and more comfortable as Wilson’s main target.