Thursday, May 29, 2014
Baldwin: Signing extension about 'family'
By Terry Blount
Doug Baldwin doesn't really mind his nickname of Angry Doug, but he doesn't consider it accurate.
"I'm not angry," Baldwin said Thursday. "I'm passionate about what I do."
That passion paid off Thursday for the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver when he signed a contract extension that will pay him $13 million over the next three years, including $9 million that's guaranteed.
Doug Baldwin was willing to take a little less money to stay in Seattle for three more years.
It's a nice sum, but a little less than what was first reported. And maybe not what he could have gotten as a free agent next year had he opted to play out 2014 on his one-year tender offer of $2.2 million and test the NFL market in 2015.
That's not what he wanted, not now anyway. He wanted to stay with what he calls his family, and that starts with cornerback Richard Sherman, his long-time friend from their days together at Stanford. Sherman was sitting on the front row at Baldwin's news conference Thursday.
"I called [Sherman] to discuss the terms of the deal before agreeing so I could ask his opinion," Baldwin said. "The first thing he said was we'll be able to be together a couple of more years.
"That was the overwhelming factor. I love this organization and my teammates. It's about being able to play side by side with my family. That's huge for me."
That feeling extends to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the men who gave him a chance to prove himself as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
"Those guys have been instrumental in my progress on and off the field," Baldwin said. "They're not only my bosses, but my friends. And I like to call them teammates.
"That John and Pete were willing to reward my hard work is a testament to the philosophy they have. Every word that has come out of their mouths has been honest and trustworthy, and that goes a long way for me."
Schneider pointed out a couple of key stats that show why Baldwin has been successful -- 92 percent of his fourth-quarter catches last year were for first downs, and his average of 10.7 yards per targeted throw was second-best among NFL receivers.
Nice numbers, but that really misses the point of why the Seahawks wanted to keep him.
"We are rewarding Doug for who he is more than what he does," Carroll said. "He's a great team guy. The leadership he brings is exactly the kind of makeup and mentality we seek.
"He's just the epitome of a great competitor. He always battles to the point that they call him Angry Doug. There's just a way about him that stands out."
Schneider said it's Baldwin's ability to get the job done in the clutch that stands out for him, along with his relentless attitude.
"Doug is a guy who represents what our organization is all about and the culture we have here," Schneider said. "He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's reliable, smart and incredibly passionate. He acts like a pro and a champion every day. So we wanted to let everyone know how special this guy is and that he's a core part of what we do here."
Baldwin has played in the slot most of his three years at Seattle, but Carroll said he will move to split end in 2014, taking over the spot vacating by Golden Tate's departure to Detroit.
That likely means Percy Harvin will start in the slot, which won't surprise anyone. Baldwin also threw his name in the hat for the punt returner job in 2014.
"Doug always has shown the ability to do whatever we needed him to do," Carroll said. "He has extraordinary quickness and the ability to separate from anyone.''
But it's Baldwin's determination to prove his doubters wrong and overcome his obstacles that got him where he is now. Just like his buddy Sherman, Baldwin has accomplished more than most experts thought he could.
"Nothing changes for me just because I signed my name on a piece of paper," Baldwin said. "Obviously, I have a little more security, but that's not why I play football. I play football because I love the game and I put everything into it.
"This is about leaving a legacy and sharing it with other players. It's not about individuals here. We're always trying to get better and make each other better."
Which is why Baldwin was willing to take a little less to stay in Seattle for three more years.
"It was the best for both sides," Baldwin said. "When this comes up again, I'll still be young (28). And it leaves us flexibility as a team to be able to do certain things with other guys."
The main guy in that equation is quarterback Russell Wilson, who can renegotiate his contract after the 2014 season.
For Baldwin, Thursday was about sticking with his family and sending a message.
"The message is that hard work does pay off," he said. "I have a 12-year-old brother [Devon]. Since my junior year of college, I decided to live a life in a way he could look up to. So the message also is to him that you can accomplish whatever you want in life, even if you have failures, if you continue strong to get to where you want to go."