After catching just about everything thrown in his direction for three seasons, Doug Baldwin was rewarded by the Seahawks on Thursday when he signed a new contract.
Angry Doug Baldwin was smiling, and for good reason.
Baldwin, who led the Seahawks in receptions as a rookie free agent in 2011 and was the second-leading receiver on the Super Bowl championship team last season, signed a new contract Thursday. The deal was to be announced in a 1 p.m. news conference at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Baldwin had been tendered as a restricted free agent in March, but his new contract adds two more years to the deal.
“Obviously I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to be in this situation,” Baldwin said moments after signing his contract. “But at the same time, this is not the end of anything. To me, it’s not really accomplishing anything. It just comes with the territory.
“My ultimate goal is to be in the Hall of Fame. So this is a stepping stone to get there.”
Baldwin signed with the Seahawks after not being selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, and has exceeded the expectations of most – if not his own. He caught 51 passes for 788 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, making him the first undrafted rookie to lead his club in receptions and receiving yards since Bill Groman of the Houston Oilers in 1960.
Baldwin missed two games because of shoulder and ankle injuries in 2012, when he caught 29 passes for 366 yards and three TDs. Last season, he started the final nine games at flanker after Sidney Rice was placed on injured reserve and responded with 50 catches for 778 yards and five TDs in the regular season. Baldwin was the team’s leading receiver in the postseason with 13 catches for 202 yards – including six catches for 106 yards in the NFC Championship game and a TD catch in the Super Bowl.
With Baldwin, it’s never just the number of receptions but when he makes them. Last season, 17 of his receptions and two of TD catches came on third-down plays. In 2012, 14 of his 29 catches came on third down. As a rookie, 25 of his 51 receptions were on third-down plays – which tied Baldwin for third in the NFC and seventh in the league.
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And Baldwin has picked up this offseason where he left off last season, with several nice catches in the Seahawks’ first OTA session on Tuesday – including getting past cornerback Byron Maxwell along the sideline on one TD catch and making a one-hander against All-Pro corner Richard Sherman for another.
“Doug has been a tremendous player,” coach Pete Carroll said after the practice. “When you go back and look at the last few years, and look at the significant plays that have happened, he’s been a part in a lot of big stuff. He continues to always be at the front of making everything happen.
“He did it again today. He had a great day today. He’s just such a great worker and such a disciplined competitor that he brings it every chance he gets and it shows.”
Baldwin has now been rewarded for everything he has done, and everything that is to come.