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Doug Baldwin deal latest step in Seahawks keeping Super Bowl core intact

Doug Baldwin flexed his muscles last season and is now getting paid handsomely for that. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider checked off the top item on his to-do list Tuesday, inking wide receiver Doug Baldwin to a four-year contract extension.

The deal is worth $46 million with $24 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. And the signing means that the team will go into training camp with one fewer distraction.

Baldwin had a monster season in 2015, catching 78 balls for 1,069 yards and a league-high-tying 14 touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Information's charting, Baldwin became the only wide receiver since targets were first tracked (1992) to post a 1,000-yard season and catch at least 80 percent of his targets.

He did most of his damage (1,007 yards) from the slot. Only three other wide receivers in the past five years have reached the 1,000-yard mark when lined up in the slot: Wes Welker, Randall Cobb and Victor Cruz.

Baldwin has had a fascinating journey to reach this point in his career. He butted heads with Jim Harbaugh while at Stanford and nearly left school before his junior year. He's grown frustrated at times with how the Seahawks' offense has operated and the lack of opportunities for wide receivers. But, by all accounts, the arrow is pointing up.

The Seahawks finished last season with the most efficient offense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings. Russell Wilson is only 27 years old, and the team returns its top four pass-catchers from 2015. Overall, Wilson, Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse and Thomas Rawls are all signed through 2018.

The offensive line is a question mark, but the Seahawks averaged 31.25 points per game in the second half of 2015, second-best in the NFL. And the defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed for the fourth straight season.

After last year's divisional round loss to the Carolina Panthers, cornerback Richard Sherman maintained that the team's window for another Super Bowl was wide open. Keeping Baldwin is another step towards keeping the core intact.

The Seahawks believe they have a great opportunity to reach the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons, and with Baldwin signed through 2020, they will now have one fewer issue to deal with when training camp begins next month.