Doug Baldwin is no longer a Seahawk. Two weeks after a report surfaced indicating injuries will likely force the veteran slot receiver to retire, the Seahawks released Russell Wilson‘s top target with a failed-physical designation, the team announced.
“The Seahawks have made the difficult decision to terminate/failed-physical Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor,” GM John Schneider said. “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community. These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”
Knee, groin and shoulder injuries — which each required surgery — look set to end Baldwin’s career. The 30-year-old wideout led the Seahawks in receiving five times and, with 6,563 yards, is the franchise’s No. 3 all-time receiver — behind only Steve Largent and Brian Blades. Baldwin’s 49 touchdown receptions trail only Largent in Seahawks history. Baldwin booked two Pro Bowl berths and tied for the league lead with 14 touchdown receptions in 2015.
The Seahawks signed Baldwin as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011; he led the Tarvaris Jackson-quarterbacked team in receiving as a rookie before becoming Wilson’s most trusted target. Baldwin was a key member of both Seattle Super Bowl teams this decade, catching touchdown passes in both the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII win and crushing loss a year later. However, his momentum stalled last season.
A knee injury hampered him during training camp and likely throughout the 2018 campaign, one that ended with Tyler Lockett as Seattle’s leading receiver and Baldwin posting 618 yards — the second-lowest total of his career. While Baldwin came alive late to help the Seahawks back to the playoffs, scoring four of his five touchdowns in December, he clearly was playing hurt. This offseason, he underwent multiple corrective procedures.
Seattle traded up to select D.K. Metcalf in the second round, also adding Wake Forest’s Gary Jennings in Round 4 and Hawaii’s John Ursua in Round 7. The team did not make any notable veteran additions at the position, which will place plenty on Lockett’s shoulders this season.
Baldwin’s second Seahawks extension, signed in 2016, came with $24.25MM in total guarantees. Thursday’s transaction will allow him to collect the remainder of that sum. The Seahawks will save $6.9MM this year by releasing Baldwin. In total, cutting both cornerstone players will give the team around $20MM in cap space next year, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets.
Chancellor received a $5.2MM payment earlier this year. The Seahawks will be tagged with $10.2MM in dead money in 2019 because of this move. The 31-year-old safety’s release serves as a mere formality, with the neck injury he sustained during the 2017 season ending his career. These cuts leave Wilson, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright as the only starters left from Seattle’s Super Bowl rosters.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.