Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin Bids Farewell To The NFL

Late Sunday night, longtime Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin bid farewell to football with a string of heartfelt tweets. He did not use the word “retirement” at any point, but it’s clear that Baldwin is walking away from the game. 

The end of one journey sees the beginning of another, ” Baldwin wrote towards the end of a letter to his younger self (link). “And, guess what.. it will be one hell of a journey. You will feel emotional and physical pain you never knew existed. You will fail over and over again. But don’t worry, all of it will be the reason why you succeed.”

The Seahawks signed Baldwin as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011 and 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.

Knee, groin and shoulder injuries — which each required surgery — ended Baldwin’s career. But, when Baldwin was healthy, he was a crucial part of the Seahawks’ offense. Wilson‘s ascent into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks involved lots of help from Baldwin, and there’s no telling where the Seahawks would have been without him. He didn’t end on a statistical high note, but he proved his toughness yet again by suiting up for 13 games last year, despite all of the maladies.

Baldwin, who was released by Seattle last last week, leaves with the second-most touchdown receptions and third-most catches and receiving yards in franchise history, behind only Steve Largent and Brian Blades.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Release Doug Baldwin, Kam Chancellor

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 also cut Kam Chancellor with this designation. Chancellor announced intentions to retire before last season but did not officially retire in order to collect guaranteed money.

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.

Latest On Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin

After undergoing three offseason surgeries, it’s unlikely that Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin will take the field again. However, we should not expect to hear an official announcement from Baldwin anytime soon, as NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (Twitter link) explains. 

If Baldwin were to formally retire today, he could potentially forfeit the signing bonus allocation in his deal over the final two years of his contract. Also, if he waits until the Seahawks release him, he could collect on $1MM in injury protection.

In short, it seems likely that Baldwin will retire from football this offseason. However, he won’t make any of this official until the remainder of the cash on his deal is secure.

If this is the end of the line for Baldwin, he’ll leave the game with 493 catches for 6,593 yards and 49 touchdowns – all with the Seahawks. He’ll also walk away with two Pro Bowl nods (2016 and 2017) plus a Super Bowl XLVIII ring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injuries May Force Doug Baldwin To Retire?

The Seahawks’ anchor at wide receiver this decade, Doug Baldwin may be unable to continue his career. The Pro Bowl wideout’s injuries could force an early retirement.

The overall effect of the injuries Baldwin has sustained may well force him to end his career after eight seasons, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Baldwin dealt with a knee injury throughout last season. It frequently limited the usually dominant slot target. In the offseason alone, Baldwin has undergone knee, groin and shoulder operations. These may have taken their toll to the point Baldwin will have to shut it down, though Schefter adds the popular Seahawk wants to keep playing.

Baldwin’s injury concerns did not blindside the Seahawks, per Schefter. Their trade-up decision to select D.K. Metcalf certainly points to the team possibly knowing it needs immediate help at receiver. While nothing has come out from Baldwin just yet, it’s obviously in play the 30-year-old NFL success story will not return for the 2019 season.

Russell Wilson‘s ascent into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks involved plenty of Baldwin help. The former undrafted receiver made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and ’17; those seasons came after Baldwin’s 14-touchdown 2015. He played all 16 games in each of those seasons. Saddled with maladies last year, Baldwin still managed to suit up for 13 games and help Seattle back to the playoffs.

This would mark another substantial exit of a Super Bowls-era Seahawk. There are not many left, with Baldwin being the last skill-position link to those rosters. Tyler Lockett joined the team as a 2015 draft choice. More will certainly be expected of him, whether Baldwin returns or not, this coming season.

The Seahawks gave Baldwin a second extension in 2016, a four-year deal worth $46MM. Two years remain on Baldwin’s deal. He’s slated to make $9.25MM in 2019.

Fortunately for Seattle, the club should have some resolution on this issue soon. Per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com, the Seahawks expect to know whether Baldwin will be playing or retiring in a matter of weeks, not months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Quinnen, Taylor, Jacobs

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is meeting with the Cardinals today, and is scheduled to sit down with the Jets and Giants in two weeks, according to Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones of NFL.com (Twitter links). While most observers believe Arizona will ultimately use the No. 1 overall selection on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Rapoport indicates both Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa are still in consideration for the top pick. The Jets and Giants present more realistic landing spots for Williams, who is viewed as the best interior prospect available. He’s also met with the Raiders and 49ers, each of whom hold top-five picks.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • The Falcons are working out Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. Along with Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Taylor is considered one of the top tackle prospects on the board in 2019. Taylor, who didn’t work out at the combine due to injury, has also met with the Jaguars. Atlanta, for their part, released right tackle Ryan Schraeder earlier this year and extended Ty Sambrailo, who figures to enter the season as the Falcons’ starter on the right side. Taylor would be a luxury choice for Atlanta, who hold the 14th overall selection.
  • Alabama running back Josh Jacobs visited the Ravens today, reports Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Viewed as the best running back available in the draft, Jacobs could be on the board when Baltimore picks late in the first round. While Jacobs isn’t an elite athlete, he’s considered a true three-down back who could help immediately. The Ravens, of course, signed veteran Mark Ingram to pair with Gus Edwards, so running back isn’t necessarily their most obvious area of need.
  • The Rams hosted Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite on Wednesday, tweets Norris. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Los Angeles re-signed pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and also added Clay Matthews, but given that a club can never have too many defensive ends/linebackers, Polite could be in consideration.
  • Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner met with the Broncos on Thursday, per Norris (Twitter link). Denver invested a 2017 first-round pick in Garett Bolles and made Ja’Wuan James the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle this offseason, but Risner could slide to guard if selected by the Broncos. Indeed, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com’s best comparison for Risner is Bears interior lineman Cody Whitehair.
  • The Seahawks will visit with Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry before the draft, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Harry (6’4″, 213) managed at least 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He should be available when Seattle makes its first-round pick at No. 21, and could reinforce a Seahawks receiving corps that already includes Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin.

Extra Points: Steelers, Patriots, Seahawks

Cornerback Mike Hilton doesn’t plan to immediately sign his exclusive rights free agent tender as he waits for a new, long-term deal from the Steelers, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As an exclusive rights free agent, Hilton has no leverage with Pittsburgh: he can either accept a minimum salary pact from the Steelers, or decide not to play football in 2019. ERFAs and restricted free agents do hold one advantage over other young players who were drafted, however, as they can receive extensions after only two seasons (drafted players must wait at least three years). One of the better slot corners in the league, Hilton has appeared in 31 games over the past two seasons, posting three interceptions and five sacks during that span. He doesn’t plan to miss any offseason work as he pushes for a new contract, per Fowler.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Running back James White and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy each missed out on playtime/performance bonus thresholds in 2018, but the Patriots have decided to pay each player his bonus anyway, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. White will collect a $250K bonus, which he would have earned by reaching 1,200 total yards (he managed 1,176), per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, Guy needed to play 50% of New England’s defensive snaps for his own $250K bonus, but fell three snaps short. Together, the bonuses will add $500K to the Patriots’ salary cap, but New England can feel secure in rewarding its players. The Pats did the same thing for Guy in 2018 when he barely failed to earn a $500K bonus.
  • Doug Baldwin has already had knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, and the veteran Seahawks receiver may have to go under the knife yet again. Appearing on Sports Radio KJR, Baldwin indicated he’s likely to require another operation in the coming months (Twitter link via Curtis Crabtree of KJR). In April, Baldwin is expected to travel to Philadelphia to meet with a specialist regarding a possible sports hernia, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Baldwin, 30, missed three games with a knee issue in 2018 and didn’t appear fully healthy once he returned to action.
  • Free agent Jake Fisher will work out as a tight end for the Redskins on Thursday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position, and is reportedly down to 285 pounds. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He auditioned for the Texans last week.

Extra Points: Brown, Packers, Seahawks, Combine, Cardinals

Another day, another update in the Antonio Brown saga. The All-Pro Steelers receiver is still demanding a trade, and now we have an update on his preferences of where he’d like to land. Brown has been loosely connected to a handful of teams, but they apparently aren’t all equal in Brown’s eyes. “Quality of quarterback play will be a factor” in determining whether Brown will agree to play for a potential trade partner, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

We heard earlier today that the Titans, Raiders, and Redskins had been expressing the most interest in Brown so far. It’s unclear if any of those three teams would meet Brown’s apparent standards for quarterback play. The trade market has been relatively quiet for Brown thus far, and his public demands have seemingly reduced the Steelers’ leverage in negotiations. Brown has played his entire career with one of the league’s top quarterbacks throwing him the ball, so it makes sense why he wouldn’t want to downgrade.

Here’s more from around the league on combine Saturday:

  • The Packers could really use some extra pass-rushing help, and they might already have their eyes set on someone in this year’s draft class. The Packers “really like” Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite, according to Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com. Green Bay owns the 12th pick in the draft, and that’s right around where Polite is slated to go in most mock drafts as of right now, so it could be a good fit. Polite racked up 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss this past season with the Gators.
  • Doug Baldwin never looked 100 percent right for the Seahawks this past season, and we now have confirmation he was dealing with multiple serious injuries. The receiver underwent surgery on his knee and his shoulder after the season ended, Pete Carroll revealed from the combine this week, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). Carroll did say that Baldwin, 30, will be fine for the start of the regular season. Baldwin missed three games in 2018 with a knee injury, and was clearly not fully healthy during the 13 games he was on the field. He finished with just 614 yards, by far his lowest total since he became a starter in 2013.
  • Former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was asked to workout as a defensive back at the combine this week, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Schefter notes that McSorley declined the request, citing a desire to concentrate on being a quarterback. McSorely played defensive back in high school, so it’s not entirely out of nowhere. Teams sometimes do things like this, like when Lamar Jackson was controversially asked to workout as a wide receiver at last year’s combine. McSorley set records at Penn State, but isn’t thought of as one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class.
  • The Cardinals will be non-tendering defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, a source told Florio (Twitter link). Pierre, a 2015 undrafted free agent, made his first NFL appearance with Arizona in 2017. He ended up starting seven games for them that year and was very productive, racking up 5.5 sacks. He appeared in ten games for them last year with one start, but the new coaching staff apparently wants to move on. He should be able to latch on somewhere when the market opens in a couple of weeks.

West Notes: Raiders, Hill, Ekeler, 49ers

The long-anticipated Reggie McKenzie departure leaves the Raiders in search of a replacement, but Jon Gruden is not certain to be involved in the interview process that will lead to his new decision-making partner/lieutenant.

I know Mark (Davis) is going to accumulate a list of names and candidates, and I’m sure we’ll discuss those people later this week,” Gruden said (via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez). “Right now, I don’t have any idea. … I’m not revealing any candidates because I don’t know of any.”

Jaguars player personnel director Chris Polian, Lions exec Jimmy Raye III and former Gruden Buccaneers coworker Mark Domenik have been loosely connected to the Raiders’ vacancy thus far. The team may want an executive who can push back against Gruden when necessary, per SI.com’s Albert Breer. College scouting director Shaun Herock is now filling in for McKenzie as GM, and Davis views Herock as a key organizational piece going forward. Gruden stopped short of proclaiming McKenzie’s right-hand man, player personnel director Joey Clinkscales, would have a long-term role. But Clinkscales remains in his post following McKenzie’s firing.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • With a home game against the Chargers and a road tilt in Seattle, the Chiefs have a tough back-to-back assignment coming up. Their top wide receiver likely will not be 100 percent for those games. Tyreek Hill said Sunday, via NBC Sports’ Peter King, his foot was “bad.” Hill left Sunday’s overtime win because of injury but returned, and Andy Reid expects the deep threat to play against the Bolts on Thursday. The Chiefs possessed a top-flight skill-position quartet, powering Patrick Mahomes‘ MVP candidacy, this season. But they are now without Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins, the latter likely out until the playoffs. Hill has not missed an NFL game due to injury. A Hill absence would make Kansas City vulnerable against a Chargers team that would move into an 11-3 tie atop the AFC West with a win. That said, the Chiefs would still hold the divisional-record tiebreaker and keep the top spot.
  • Chances for a Thursday recovery for Austin Ekeler aren’t as good. The second-year Chargers running back suffered a bruised nerve in his neck, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com, and although he played through similar discomfort earlier this season, Ekeler not playing appears to be the most likely scenario. “It’s football, yeah, but there’s a lot of life after football, too,” Ekeler said Monday. Melvin Gordon is expected to return from his MCL injury, however.
  • The 49ers drafted N.C. State’s Kentavius Street shortly after he tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout with the Giants, but the rookie defensive end may be on the verge of practicing, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Street is on the 49ers’ NFI list and will not play in a game this season, though, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Still, practice work would help as Street prepares for a hopefully healthy 2019 offseason.
  • In case you missed it, Doug Baldwin is inactive for tonight’s Seahawks-Vikings game. Baldwin, who’s battled a knee injury most of this season, is now dealing with a hip problem.

Doug Baldwin To Return In Week 4

Pete Carroll confirmed the Seahawks will have their top pass-catcher back on Sunday.

Doug Baldwin will return to action against the Cardinals in Week 4, Seattle’s head coach said during a radio address (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson).

Baldwin’s missed the past two games because of an MCL injury and has yet to record a catch in 2018. The veteran wide receiver suffered a knee injury during training camp, causing him to miss most of Seattle’s workouts leading up to the season before exiting Seattle’s Week 1 game with more knee trouble. He managed limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Seahawks went 1-1 without their eighth-year wideout, but Baldwin’s return figures to be critical for the team’s passing attack.

Baldwin’s led the Seahawks in receiving yardage the past four seasons, finishing with back-to-back 1,000-yard showings in 2015 and ’16 and posting a 991-yard, eight-touchdown campaign last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Seahawks, Packers

Eric Reid‘s one-year deal with the Panthers has a base value of $1MM, but he can earn an additional $900K via other means, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Reid could collect the extra cash via playtime incentives, Pro Bowl incentives, or per-game roster bonuses. Carolina needed extra defensive backs after recently losing Da’Norris Searcy, and Reid should immediately step into the club’s starting lineup opposite Mike Adams. Reid, of course, has protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, but that issue reportedly didn’t come up during his meeting with the Panthers.

Here’s more on Reid and the rest of the NFC:

  • The 49ers reportedly offered Reid a contract before he signed with the Panthers, and they weren’t the only NFC West club to do so. The Seahawks also discussed a deal with Reid, per Jim Trotter of NFL.com (Twitter link), and were the first team to offer Reid a pact. Seattle negotiated with Reid while fellow safety Earl Thomas was holding out, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (via Twitter) the offer was pulled after Thomas reported. Per Condotta, Seattle and Reid couldn’t agree on a salary.
  • Doug Baldwin returned to Seahawks practice on Wednesday for the first time since going down with an MCL injury in the club’s Week 1 game, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Baldwin hasn’t yet been given clearance to play in Week 4, he says he’s “chomping at the bit” to return to action, tweets Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio KJR. Baldwin’s return would be an obvious boon to a Seattle offense that has given more snaps to Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown.
  • Buccaneers safety Chris Conte was the victim of a vicious stiff arm from Steelers tight end Vance McDonald on Monday night, but the veteran defensive back was actually playing through a torn PCL, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Conte was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, but given that his recovery timeline is just six weeks, it’s conceivable he could return later this season. Tampa Bay will rely on fourth-round rookie Jordan Whitehead at safety for the time being.
  • Cornerback Bashaud Breeland originally inked a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers this offseason, but after a freak injury resulted in a failed physical, the veteran defensive back was forced to take quite a pay cut on his one-year deal with the Packers. Breeland signed a minimum salary benefit pact, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes, so he’ll collect a base salary of $790K plus a $90K bonus. However, under the rules of the MSB, Breeland will only count against Green Bay’s salary cap at the rate of a second-year player ($630K).