After becoming a Super Bowl champion, Doug Baldwin took a risk.
He could have signed a long extension with the Seattle Seahawks after winning it all in 2014. But Baldwin gambled that a shorter extension was the best move and by the time he needed to make another decision about his future, his value would be worth far more.
Baldwin played his way into the correct move, and he signed a four-year extension with the Seahawks on Tuesday that runs through the 2020 season.
Coming off a career season, Baldwin became the latest piece of Seattle's core to agree to a long-term deal, including quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Earl Thomas.
Baldwin tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions last season and set career highs in TDs, receptions and yards receiving. He signed a $13 million, three-year deal with Seattle following the 2013 season that runs through this upcoming season.
Baldwin's agreement was first reported by KIRO-AM in Seattle. Representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Getting an extension done with Baldwin this summer was a priority for the Seahawks.
"It is a big deal and it's a very serious negotiation as they all are. He's done an incredible job for us and is a great teammate," coach Pete Carroll said June 16 when the Seahawks finished minicamp. "Eventually we'll get something worked out. I hope something happens. The intent is to get him signed and secured for a good while."
Baldwin, 27, finished last season with 14 touchdown receptions, tying him with Brandon Marshall and Allen Robinson for the NFL lead. He became the first Seattle wide receiver since 2007 to top 1,000 yards receiving and finished with 78 receptions. Most of those came late in the season when the connection between Wilson and Baldwin was clicking at a record pace.
Baldwin had 47 receptions and 12 touchdowns over the final eight games of the regular season. He had one three-week stretch where he became the first wide receiver since Jerry Rice in 1993 with eight TDs in three games.
An undrafted rookie out of Stanford in 2011, Baldwin has developed into a premier wide receiver. He acquired the nickname "Angry Doug" because he felt slighted by not being drafted and later by analysts that criticized the talent of Seattle's wide receivers.
But he has grown into Wilson's favorite target. In an offense that has mostly emphasized the run game, Baldwin has seen his receiving numbers increase every season despite getting fewer targets than most top wide receivers in the NFL. Baldwin's 78 receptions last season came on 103 targets, which ranked 38th in the league.
Baldwin also dismissed the notion that he is just an inside wide receiver. He earned a spot on Seattle's roster because of his ability to play in the slot, but has proven the past two seasons that he can be a starter on the outside.
"A lot of great things happened in the past," Baldwin said on June 9, "but I'm looking forward to a lot of great things in the future."
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