Doug Baldwin and the Seattle Seahawks signed a contract extension that will keep the WR in Washington through 2020. The four-year deal is reportedly worth $46 million and is the first deal for the former undrafted free agent out of Stanford. This signing makes him the fourth highest paid wide receiver in the NFL according to AAV.
Although we are happy to see Baldwin cash in and prove all of his doubters wrong, I can’t help but think that this is an example of overpaying. He is now being paid more than the likes of Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb. You can tell me that these players are getting this money because you may think Baldwin is entering his prime years, but he will be turning 28 at the beginning of the season, so he is actually a couple of years older than Cobb.
2015 was Baldwin’s first opportunity to be the number one receiver in Seattle’s offense after being stuck behind Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. He certainly made the most of his targets as he recorded 1069 yards and 14 touchdowns on 78 receptions. The 14 receiving touchdowns were good for the league high. This is largely due to a four week stretch where he scored 10 of the 14 touchdowns.
In his prior four seasons in the NFL, Baldwin had just 15 touchdowns. The number of targets he received did increase, but I wonder if he is able to keep up the same success with the return of Jimmy Graham to the Seattle offense. One of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league will certainly demand targets and that should impact Baldwin’s contributions. We have also not seen what the offense looks like without Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Defense may not be as focused on shutting down the run, and they may begin to relocate their talents on defending the pass. This could stunt Baldwin’s growth as an NFL player.
One thing that this signing does is raises the prices for WR around the league. They will soon be saying to their agents and respective franchises “why does Doug Baldwin get paid more than I do? I deserve that money”. They are right to question that, and the salaries around the league will surely continue to rise. For example, Antonio Brown has two more seasons under contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is making $6 million less than Baldwin, per season. He may say, as one of the best WRs in the league, he should be making $18 million AAV. Everyone will be looking for the type of money that the Seahawks just gave Doug Baldwin.