In the continuing countdown of the top 12 players for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season, this is the man with a boulder on his shoulder.
No. 11: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin – As of the moment, Baldwin remains a restricted free agent, so it’s possible he could leave. But that’s highly unlikely since the Seahawks put a second-round tender tag on him, showing they intend to keep him.
And they should. In fact, Baldwin is one of the most underrated players in the NFL, a fact that feeds his feeling that he doesn’t get his proper respect. It’s true, which is why Baldwin says he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder; he has a boulder on his shoulder.
What Baldwin does best is make a big play with a tough catch when the game is on the line.
Key stat: He caught five or more passes in seven games, including six in the NFC Championship against San Francisco and five in the Super Bowl victory over Denver.
Key contribution: Baldwin was Russell Wilson’s go-to guy in third-down situations, often making the tough catch that kept scoring drives alive, including a 24-yard toe-tap sideline grab at Houston that kept a 98-yard TD drive alive in the fourth quarter.
Contact status: Will earn $2.187 million this season and be a free agent at the end of the year if an extension isn’t worked out.