Doug Baldwin popped a bottle of apple cider — he doesn’t drink alcohol — in celebration at Thursday’s press conference in Renton.
Flanked by general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks formally announced a deal with Baldwin that can keep him in Seattle through 2016. He’ll play 2014 on the restricted free agent tender, then be on a two-year extension after that. His guaranteed money is $8.5 million, with the deal reportedly worth at least $13 million total.
“Nothing changes for me,” Baldwin said. “I signed my name to a piece of paper. A piece of paper does nothing for me.”
In the front row Thursday was his Stanford pal Richard Sherman. Baldwin said there were two reasons he came to the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
First, Schneider had sent him a hand-written letter explaining why he thought Baldwin would be a fit in Seattle.
Second was Sherman, who often refers to Baldwin as his son, though they are more like brothers.
Schneider and Carroll both lauded Baldwin’s work ethic, ability to be clutch and the attitude they say epitomizes what the organization wants to be about.
“Act like a pro and act like a champ every single day, which is what this individual does,” Schneider said.
According to Carroll, Baldwin will be playing split end this year. Baldwin also threw his hat into the punt returner mix on Thursday, though he said he didn’t want to lose out on being a blocker on punt returns.
ESPN’s John Clayton reported Baldwin turned down a four-year, $20 million offer. Baldwin did not address that specifically, but said this deal, which they verbally agreed to around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday before signing Thursday afternoon, allows him and the team flexibility.
“I get the security and when I come up again, I’ll be young,” Baldwin, 25, said.
The competition at wide receiver is heightened this fall. The Seahawks used their top pick in the draft to select wide receiver Paul Richardson and selected Kevin Norwood in the fourth round. Schneider told Baldwin during Super Bowl week in New York, when the team was first having draft meetings, that they were likely to pick a couple wide receivers. Baldwin said he was ecstatic to hear that.
“He just said, ‘Keep bringing them in,’” Schneider said.
Baldwin also pointed out this is not the end for him, so he did not want to dwell on it or make it much of a big deal. He was even hesitant to have a press conference.
“To me, this is just part of the process,” Baldwin said. “I’m not retiring. I’m not in Canton, and that’s the ultimate goal.
“I’m ready to get back to work.”